Thursday, November 23, 2017 - 4 Rabi' al-Awwal 1439

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I live in England and my dogs are having bad cold, can I give them some alcohol for treatment?

I live in England and my dogs are having bad cold, can I give them some alcohol for treatment?

Answer

Alcohol can cause serious intoxication in pets. Every year hundreds of dogs die after a single bout of alcohol consumption. Dogs and cats can even get alcohol toxicity by ingesting fermented foods if they eat enough of them. Some alcoholic beverages are more dangerous to dogs and cats than others. Beer contains the lowest concentration of alcohol, usually around 4%. Wine averages 10% alcohol by volume, but some hard liquor can be as high as 90% alcohol. Even small amounts of hard liquor can potentially kill a small dog or cat.

When a dog or cat is exposed to alcohol, it causes depression of their central nervous system. In many ways, its effects on a pet's nervous system are similar to that of humans. A dog or cat slows down, becomes drowsy and loses their coordination. If they're exposed to higher levels of alcohol, it can depress their nervous system to the point that their breathing and heart rate slow down, and their body temperature drops. Their blood chemistry is also altered, leading to a dangerous condition called metabolic acidosis where the blood becomes too acidic. At this point, without treatment, death soon follows usually due to cardiac arrest. Even if a dog or cat doesn't die from the acute effects of alcohol poisoning, it can be harmful to their kidneys and liver.

If a dog ingests alcohol, it can potentially result in:
- vomiting
- diarrhea
- lack of coordination
- central nervous system depression
- difficulty breathing
- tremors
- acidosis
- coma
- and even death.

Therefore, giving your dogs alcohol might not be a way of treatment but an actual road to their death. Thus unless a veterinary physician approved it for medical treatment, it would be harmful and most probably lethal for dogs to consume alcohol.

It is worth noting that from an Islamic perspective dogs are not prohibited from alcohol consumption per se because they are not sane intellectual beings like humans and they are not bound with legal obligations. The issue remains that with the approval of the veterinary physician you can buy them alcohol for treatment if you are living in a non-Muslim country as Imam Abu Hanifa allowed it. But in case you live in a Muslim country, you would be obliged to seek other medical treatments that do not involve buying alcohol.

Related links
» Personification of the Prophets and Messengers in movies
» Writing an abbreviated form of salawat on the Prophet
» Serving alcohol in restaurants in non-Muslim countries
» Slavery has no place in today's Islam
» Using an electronic device to monitor prayer movements