New Year’s Eve Pet Safety: Hold the Booze

New Year’s Eve can be a tough time for pets. Between the loud fireworks and guests (though this year's list will surely be much shorter than previous years!), even the most social pets can feel a bit intimidated. One danger you may not have considered is alcohol. In the midst of the festivities, your curious dog or cat may help themselves to someone’s glass and it can make them sick.

Start your New Year off right and avoid a pet emergency. Here’s what you need to know.

Pets and Alcohol Don’t Mix

When it comes to pets and alcohol, know that alcohol can poison your pup or kitty. It doesn’t take much either because they’re so much smaller than people. One or two laps of a leftover cocktail can be enough to make your pet sick. 

What Attracts Pets to Alcohol?

Curious cat and a basket of wine bottles

Dogs and cats are curious, and many of them will taste anything left within reach. You’ve probably known a dog or two who explores the world with his tongue. If this describes your dog or cat, consider if they’ll be happier and safer away from the New Year's Eve festivities. It might be a good idea to kennel them or put them in a separate room, away from the commotion of watching the ball drop...and the champagne that tends to flow when it does!

What Does Alcohol Do to Your Pets Anyway?

Well, the same as alcohol can give you a “buzz", it can affect your dog or cat the same way, and while it might seem funny to see your dog or cat stagger around confused, it can be dangerous.

Alcohol depresses your pet’s nervous system and can damage the liver and kidneys. Alcohol may make them sleepy or cause them to lose their balance. If they consume enough, their body temperature drops, their heart rate slows, and they may go into cardiac arrest or have seizures.

Dogs and cats can’t process the ethanol that is in alcoholic drinks, and if they drink enough it can lead to toxicity, and as we mentioned before, it doesn’t take a lot.

It’s important to note that ethanol is not just in beer, wine, and spirits, either. It’s in perfumes, some household cleaners, and cough syrups too, so it’s a good idea to keep those things out of reach of curious four-legged family members.

Champagne bottles and glasses

What Do You Do If Your Pet Ingests Alcohol?

If you know your pet drank alcohol or is showing any symptoms of poisoning, call ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control at (888) 426-4435 or the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661 immediately (have a credit card, pen and paper, and your pet’s general health info on hand), or take them to your emergency veterinarian. The veterinarian can check their blood alcohol levels and determine an appropriate course of treatment.

If it’s caught early, most dogs and cats will recover from alcohol poisoning. Keep your pets healthy and happy this New Year’s Eve by being prepared. If you have any questions about sending your pets into the next year as happy and healthy as possible, we can help you find a local vet!


Contributing DVM