Can Your Dog Tell If You’re Tipsy?

Dogs and their owners form very strong bonds and of course, know each other very well as a result of this, and many dog owners feel that their dogs have an almost psychic connection to them, and will quickly pick up on their moods, emotions and stress levels, as well as how you feel about other people!

This type of close relationship often makes us question exactly how much our dogs know about us and what they can determine about us that even other people might not be able to pick up on. Just one of the questions that dog owners are apt to ponder after they have imbibed a few drinks is whether or not their dogs know this-and if they can tell that we feel and sometimes act differently.

In this article, we will answer the question of whether or not your dog can tell if you are tipsy, or have had a few drinks-and how they are likely to react to this! Read on to learn more.

No frame of reference

First of all, dogs don’t have any frame of reference for how drinking a certain substance can affect people, because of course dogs drink water as standard, don’t drink alcohol, and are unlikely to have ever eaten or drunk anything that might have mimicked the effect of being drunk.

Additionally, even if they had at some point eaten or drunk something that might have fermented and turned to alcohol (such as windfall apples in an orchard that may have begun to ferment) they are unlikely to have made the connections in their minds about this and how they responded to it, or of course, why.

However, while your dog might not have a frame of reference for alcohol and how it can affect people, they will certainly know when you have had a couple of drinks, for a variety of reasons!


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Your scent

Because people’s sense of smell is significantly poorer than dogs, we miss out on a huge variety of the scent cues that dogs not only pick up on, but rely upon to navigate the world. While we are unable to tell from the smell if someone has had a couple of drinks unless they have only just finished one and are standing very close to us, we can sometimes tell if someone has drunk a lot.

Most of us have at some stage smelled someone in the office the next day who had a hard night the night before and seemed to be sweating alcohol out of their pores! However, because a dog’s sense of smell is so much better than ours, your dog can scent the change in your personal smell after just one drink-and of course, the more you drink and the more alcohol there is in your bloodstream, the clearer the smell will be.

If you have a glass of wine with dinner or a couple of drinks most nights, your dog will be familiar with this regular addition to your scent profile, but if you don’t drink very often, they might find it odd!

While the smell of alcohol on someone is never exactly pleasant, alcohol is also of course a poison, and the scent that your dog will read on you after a few drinks is likely to be a rather unhealthy one, even if other people can’t smell it at all!

Your body language

People tend to relax after a drink or two, which changes their body language and general demeanour. Responses tend to be slower and we are less observant and more easily distracted, and our facial expressions and how we carry ourselves tend to change as well! While your own dog is apt to be fine with this and even possibly try to take advantage or push their luck about hassling you for treats or getting onto the furniture, strange dogs might be a little wary-particularly if you are smiling a lot and trying to get their attention!

Your interactions with your dog

As mentioned, some dogs will find their owner being rather more pliable than normal to be an invitation to be cheeky or push their luck, and you should ensure that you don’t get so tiddly with your dog around that you start blurring boundaries.

Additionally, make sure that you still take care of all of your dog’s needs-it can be easy to miss them asking to go out to the toilet if you are drinking and chatting with friends, or wandering off to dig a hole or chew on someone’s shoes, if they are so inclined!

Having a few drinks with your dog around is no problem, with the same caveat as anything else-don’t go too far, and think about your pets in the same way you would your children in terms of keeping enough of your wits about you to ensure that you take care of them properly!

Finally, don’t leave alcoholic drinks open around your dog, particularly if they are sweet smelling or tasting-and never, under any circumstances, offer your dog an alcoholic drink!


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