All You Need To Know About Ethanol Poisoning In Dogs

All You Need To Know About Ethanol Poisoning In Dogs

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Toxicosis or ethanol poisoning happens when a dog gets exposed to the ethanol chemical. This may happen either through the skin or orally. The result is the central nervous system (CNS) gets depressed, leading the canine to be drowsy and even unconscious. Body cells may get damaged. The list of symptoms includes slowed heart rate and incontinence. There could even be a heart attack.

Among dogs, ethanol poisoning is a fairly frequent occurrence. It happens when the dog gets exposed to gasoline, dyes, pharmaceuticals, inks, perfumes, disinfectants, and even mouthwashes. A few particular beverages may also lead to ethanol poisoning.


Ethanol poisoning symptoms depend on the ingested amount and whether the canine has an empty or full stomach. The principal symptom is the depression of the CNS which could develop approximately 15 minutes to 20 minutes post-ingestion if the dog's stomach is empty. If the canine has a full stomach, then the CNS will be depressed after two hours. The list of other symptoms includes involuntary defecation or urination. Ingestion of higher doses will result in behavioral changes. The latter may range from excitement to depression, and lowering of the body temperature. Reflexes become much slower. If bread dough is the cause, there could be flatulence. There will be a rise in the total body acid or metabolic acidosis. Heart attacks may also happen. If it is not treated, then the dog could die.

Diagnosis and treatment

A number of blood tests can diagnose ethanol poisoning. These tests measure the blood-ethanol concentration. Urine tests for hypoglycemia could also mark ethanol poisoning. The dog may also be subjected to pH tests for higher acid levels within the body.

The severity of symptoms determines the appropriate treatment. In case the dog is dehydrated, Intravenous (IV) fluids is a must. Medication must be given to alleviate the depression in the CNS. The metabolism of alcohol must also be stopped.

In severe cases, a dog may suffer from respiratory problems. This may push the need for artificial ventilation to help the breathing process. An oxygen mask could be necessary. In case of any heart attack, cardiac therapy is a must.

Managing ethanol poisoning

In the case of initial successful treatment, the symptoms would subside within a period of 12 hours. The veterinarian would follow up the first round of treatment by continuing to measure the urine pH and blood pH levels. There would also be checking for abnormal high acidity of the body until the danger period has been passed.


Poisoning by ethanol alcohol can be completely prevented by making sure that the dog does not get exposed to any product containing alcohol. Products like mouthwashes and fermented foods should be kept within secure cabinets or containers.

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