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Why Your Dog Hates You When You’re Drunk

  • Why Your Dog Hates You When You’re Drunk

    Why Your Dog Hates You When You’re Drunk

    Why Your Dog Hates You When You're Drunk image

    Your dog is watching. He doesn’t like what he sees.

    Getting drunk- the great American pastime. We have serious problem with booze in this country- in 2012 we drank 6.3 billion gallons of beer alone. On top of that, more than half of U.S. adults 18 years of age and older reported drinking within one month of a study conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

    Need I remind you that the legal drinking age in the United States is 21? Yes, yes, some of you will brush this off as ‘kids being kids’ and claim this is behavior to be expected from teenagers- but it’s not. That kind of mentality is encouraging a serious alcohol abuse epidemic in our country. As reported in the same 2013 SAMHSA study, 16.6 million adults (again, 18+) were identified as having an alcohol use disorder.

    But that’s okay, right? As long as you aren’t hurting anybody, who cares how much you drink?

    Well, your dog does. Here’s why your dog hates you when you’re drunk.

    Alcohol Makes You Smell

    Why Your Dog Hates You When You're Drunk image

    A dog’s sense of smell is about 10,000 times stronger than ours.

    What’s the number one fact that pops into your head when you think of our canine companions? That they have heightened senses- hearing and smelling to be specific, right? Depending on the breed, your dog may have up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their nose, as opposed to our meager six million. Compared to dogs, we are plebeians in the world of scenting; but that’s also kind of why they love us.

    It’s pretty easy for us to identify when our fellow man has a bad case of B.O. or when they’ve bathed themselves in cologne. Powerful scents can trigger dizziness, difficulty breathing, and even powerful allergic reactions in some people. For dogs? Humans smell like that all the time- and it’s awesome! Watch carefully the next time your dog is checking out a new person. While they sniff like a hoover around the crotch of their new best friend, they are processing more information through scent than you and I would probably learn through following someone around for a day. (Don’t do that, it’s stalking.)

    So what happens when you stumble home after a night of heavy drinking and want some love from your pooch? Why do they shy away or straight out run? Because you smell wrong.

    When you consume alcohol, the scent comes pouring out of your pores. Every time you speak the smell intensifies ten fold. You can try to act sober for the cops, your parents, your significant other, or your roommate. But not your dog; your dog always knows.

    You Suck at Taking Care of Him/Her

    Why Your Dog Hates You When You're Drunk image

    Don’t make your dog suffer because of alcohol

    The thing with addiction is, sometimes we convince ourselves we are above the disorder because we continue to function relatively normally. We continue to get up and go to work, see friends, and all the other things that come with ‘normal life.’ So long as the outside world is fooled, we convince ourselves we don’t have a problem, let alone one that requires rehab. But the truth is, you’re probably not actually fooling anyone.

    Subtle shifts in your behavior give away the truth about your substance abuse disorder, especially when it comes to alcohol. Yes, you still make it to work, but you are 20 minutes late, clearly hungover, and downing coffee like a madman. Yes, you still make it out to socialize with friends, but somehow you alway seem to push for going somewhere that serves alcohol. They can nearly guarantee if there’s no booze, you’ll find a way to cancel.

    While some people in your life may elect to ignore the subtle changes in your behavior, others will elect to separate themselves from you because of these changes. Your dog, however, has no such choice.

    Addiction affects your mind slowly, changing your priorities and overtaking your former passions. Even though you love your dog, when addiction takes over your mind, taking care of him/her slips down the totem pole of importance. It may start out simply- less play time, fewer, shorter walks and the like. Then you forget to fill the food bowl once or twice. Then for a few days. Then the water is left unreplenished. You neglect yourself, so why would keeping your dog in good shape even cross your mind?

    Don’t neglect your dog. Quit drinking before it gets to that level.

    You’re A Large, Uncoordinated Toddler

    Why Your Dog Hates You When You're Drunk image

    “Again, Dave? Seriously?”

    Babies and puppies are the cutest thing, aren’t they? Babies love petting dogs, even if their jerky, uncontrolled motions can be a bit harsh. And dogs love babies, little smelly humans who are always up to play and need guarding. Babies grow into toddlers who are a bit better at controlling their limbs and great sources for food scraps. Then they become kids, playing outside with almost unlimited energy. Kids can play fetch forever, and it’s great; nothing beats a kid and his dog on a nice, summer afternoon.

    Then kids become teens and adults. The same person, yes, but a bit more subdued; that’s okay, because there’s still plenty of play time and now new toys and treat brought with money (whatever that is) earned at something called a “job.” Days are for solo exploration of the nooks and crannies of the house, warning off birds and passersby, and waiting for owners to come home for petting, lounging, and playtime.

    But sometimes, when humans come home, they’re different; sometimes they revert back to the baby and toddler stage.

    Now, they’re still the same size- much taller than when they were actually babies- but the jerky, uncoordinated movements are back. I mean, come on, you can’t even walk through the doorway? Oh, now you’ve reverted to crawling. What’s gotten into you, Dave? Was it some sort of spell? Is this what a “job” does to you? Do you need help-

    Oh. There’s that smell again, something called “alcohol” that your girlfriend doesn’t like. You’re drunk again. Right. Well, I’ll be gnawing on my favorite toy in bed while you struggle to figure out how your shoes come off.

    Can you think of other ways getting drunk drives your dog crazy? Let us know in the comments!

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    Comments (9)

      • Regina
      • April 25, 2016 at 7:28 am

      My older brother is an alcoholic. He denies it but he is in a big way. I would love to have him come live with me and my 3 dogs. Thought that it would be great for him to have a decent home to live in for a change, plus for my dogs to have someone with them to play with/to hang around with while I am at work. I always feel bad leaving them alone. But have to work. No matter how much I would love to do this for them and for my brother, I know that it would not work out. They have never experienced a drunk person and my brother gets loud when he’s drunk. This would scare them. Have tried to get him to stop and to get help. But he won’t. So my dogs only have me which when I’m not too tired I will go outside and play with them. Alcoholic people never stop to think, to realize what all they are missing out on. They can’t see what the booze is keeping them away from. My dogs would love my brother because he loves dogs too. But when he’s drunk he’s a totally different person 360 degrees all the way around. Life is short and a blessing but drunks can’t see this 🙁

      • Hello Regina!
        It sounds like you have a loving and caring heart, and I’m sure both your brother and your dogs appreciate that. Unfortunately, until he is ready to accept his drinking is a problem and seek to change that, it may not be a good idea to introduce your brother into your dogs’ lives. Perhaps you can show him this piece to help him understand how alcohol is truly effecting his life? Best of luck!

      • Arty
      • September 13, 2016 at 12:57 am

      Great piece. I learned a lot- didn’t know that about dogs

    • It would be a good article, but saying:

      “Need I remind you that the legal drinking age in the United States is 21? Yes, yes, some of you will brush this off as ‘kids being kids’ and claim this is behavior to be expected from teenagers- but it’s not. That kind of mentality is encouraging a serious alcohol abuse epidemic in our country.”

      is absolutely ridiculous. Drinking age has nothing to do with alcohol problems. In Germany, the legal drinking age “14 when accompanied by a custodial person, 16 for beer and wine, 18 for spirits and aliments containing spirits above negligible amount”, and yet, there are fewer alcoholic in Germany than in the United States. Don’t write made up conclusions to an article ABOUT DOGS for God’s sake…Check for facts before you rant about alcoholics, and “epidemics of alcoholism”. It has nothing to do with legal drinking age. I’m sober for 5 years now, and i was an alcoholic when i was 18, and i even went to the rehab for 1 month. It’s not the age what makes people alcoholic. It’s the cause.

      WHO (World Health Organization): http://gamapserver.who.int/gho/interactive_charts/substance_abuse/bod_alcohol_prevalence/atlas.html
      Wikipedia article about legal drinking age: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_drinking_age

      • Good afternoon,

        My intention when including the legal drinking age (in the United States) was to highlight that a flippant attitude about underage drinking only goes to compound the problem, not to imply that if you don’t start drinking until after you’ve reached the legal drinking age you won’t develop a problem. That being said, drug and alcohol abuse that begins in childhood does have an increased rate of developing into substance abuse disorders.

    • I have a husband who is a functioning alcoholic. He spends a lot of time in the attached garage, drinking as much as he can to get the best buzz he can achieve in the shortest amount of time he can do it. When he comes into the house, which is my kitchen, which is where the dogs see him, they sometimes bark, whine or growl at him when he shows his face, talks, or enters. I have noticed they do this more often as he gets his buzz on. He is a mean drunk, in my presence…he’s good at hiding his real self to others…but the dogs aren’t fooled, neither am I. He will yell at me, call me names, call me a lousy dog trainer (I was a professional dog trainer for many years) cuz I can’t make them stop barking at certain times and although I try to explain why they are doing that and that I am trying to correct things, in between his rants, he tells me I am full of shit and doesn’t believe me. I think the dogs know he is unstable, mean to me and yells a lot, and they don’t like it. I think that’s not me being a bad trainer, I think it’s cuz he is a bad husband, a drunk, and the dogs see more than we as humans do. I think that if he ever did something bad to me, the dogs would have my back, and I would appreciate but not encourage that. I just am at my whits end with my husband and his bullshit. As Cesar says, it’s not the dog, it’s the human, and he doesn’t understand that concept..and just like algebra, which he doesn’t understand, it must not be true.

    • Dont know how old this is but, GOD BLESS YOU. Alcoholism is no joke and what a trooper you have been. Hats off to you madam and I truly hope you and your dogs situation has improved.

    • What an interesting, kind of odd, article. I decided to look this topic up on google because a dog that I am interested in has noted that he does not like people who smell of smoke and alcohol. I wasn’t sold on that. I am not an alcoholic but I do occasionally drink. Usually I just have a few beers over the weekend to unwind and for recreation. I don’t get crazy drunk typically but there have been times that I have come home more than buzzed and have never noticed a difference in my dogs behavior. She is still delighted to see me. In fact, the only thing I’d say she does differently is that the few times I have been very hungover and bedridden she won’t leave my side.


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