Why Your Dog Hates You When You’re Drunk
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
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
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 un-replenished. 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
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.