"My Dog is an Alcoholic"

A friend of the Mutt team sent us this story about her dog and we just had to share:

My Dog is an Alcoholic

We have four plum trees in our backyard, and they were bountiful this year. Unfortunately, despite canning, jamming, and heavy eating, there was still a huge drop of fruit all at once, and rotting fruit covered the ground beneath the trees.

A week after the first tree dropped all its fruit, Fig started to act strange. He slept a lot and was out of it during the day. I gave him a little extra care thinking that he was depressed because he hadn’t seen his little buddies in a while and was lonely. A few days later, I decided he might have the flu, so I started to watch him more because he was sleeping and puking after eating.

Fig’s vomiting continued and got me very worried. Then I remembered that we changed his brand of food around the same time, but my husband thought his symptoms started earlier. I went to the pet store to ask if there was a recall or other dogs that had issue with this particular food. Fig has never had any trouble changing brands—he is part goat. The store tried to see if there was an ingredient that might cause allergy, but the only new ingredients were anchovies and eggplant. Fig had eaten another flavors in this brand in the past, so I decided it was not a likely cause.

Then I read that some dogs produce too much bile as adults, and Fig is just over a year now. We decided to started feeding four small meals a day instead of two in order to reduce vomiting. Overproduction of bile IS common in schnauzers. If your schnauzer is puking after breakfast or eating a lot of grass, try reducing size and increasing frequency of meals—it works!

More frequent eating reduced Fig’s issues, but he still had problems another week later. Then I got worried that Fig might have eaten a plum seed. I had seen him hanging out under the trees. He is young and likes to chew, so I became worried that he might need surgery to unblock his intestines. This is one of the most common causes of death in puppies. We started to watch every poo, but he was pooping just fine: no black color, great texture, and he was regular. We decided to ban him from under the trees as a precaution, even though when I offered him a ripe plum he dropped it like it was disgusting.

A week later I left the backyard for the bathroom. While sitting there, I looked out the window. Sure enough! Fig thought I was not looking and was wildly eating rotten plums, as if he hadn’t eaten any food in weeks! Worse was the fact that this was a cherry plum tree with smaller seeds. He was clearly eating them whole. I ran back outside and chased him off. They were all rotten! He doesn’t like ripe ones—he waits for fermentation!

There is a small amount of cyanide in the pit of any stone fruit (peach, plum, apricot, etc) which is dangerous, but if the dog doesn’t chew the pit the cyanide in a plum seed will not be the issue—intestine blockage and stomach inflammation are the things to watch. We found 8 seeds in his stool that night, which was scary, but I was glad everything was passing. He didn’t appear ill at all, so I decided that after the pits passed and he would be fine, and I raked the entire yard.

Fig got better a few days after the plums were raked up, so I think this proves why Fig was acting strange. I am certain he was tipsy during the day and getting hangovers. My husband is now calling him the BOOZE HOUND.

Do dogs crave rotten things because they want to feel drunk, or is it accidental and they just like the flavor? I say they want to get drunk. Fig was grazing on rotten plums on and off throughout the day, so I say he understands cause and effect clearly. Then he was treating this hangover with a little HAIR OF THE DOG.

I finally told a friend about all this, and she forwarded me this video. This made me recall that as a kid that our neighbors’ pigs got drunk on rotten apples. I guess most animals are boozers! You have to watch this video...it’s unbelievable.

We have a friend with a Rottweiler who goes to bars with him and will beg for a splash of beer. I figured it was because the dog liked the beer flavor, but now I think it might be just so he can hang like the humans and get drunk. If you are thinking dogs and beer are a good combo, don’t. Any more than a splash can kill them according to science research, and dogs won’t stop drinking if they find it. When we adopted Fig as a pup, we were told to keep beer away from him, so some people are in the know already, and I am betting they know a dog who died of alcohol. My advice: don’t feed your little alcoholic booze—it’s a rough way to go.