Hops are not Man’s Best Friends Friend, A warning for all dog owners

I’m a homebrewer and I have two great dogs, a Austrian Shepherd and a Border Collie mix.  They are great dogs and I would hate to see anything happen to them, as with most dog owners.   As a homebrewer, I’m left with spent grains and hops after a brewing session, not to mention chemicals and extremely hot surfaces.  What I found out a couple months ago, hops can be deadly to some breeds dogs, particularly Greyhounds.  Thankfully I found out by reading a post on a forum and not through personal experience.

Simply Beer Mascot!

Simply Beer Mascot!

Some breeds have a toxic reaction that triggers the onset of Malignant Hyperthermia (MH), a life threatening condition in which the body uncontrollably overheats.* The first symptom to become obvious to an owner is heavy panting. Tachycardia (rapid heart rate) will also be present, up to 200 beats per minute. The temperature may rise as quickly as 2 degrees F every five minutes.  Immediately take your dog to a emergency pet hospital.  Note, most general veterinarians are not equipped to handle this serious of a condition.  Contact the National Animal Poison Control Center (NAPCC) at 800-548-2423.

We, as homebrewers, should always take care in how we handle our equipment, chemicals and ingredients.  Both Children and dogs will play with anything that looks or smells interesting.  As such, these things should be keep out of reach and stored properly.

Update: 2009/09/03

After further research with Help of JT from RWC Beer Club, It appears that since the original 9 case there has not been any further cases reported.  Now, I’m not doubting the dogs condition, but there may be other reasons for the reaction of the dogs.  Maybe pesticides, chemicals, residue where the hops were left, or a number of other reasons.

For me personally, I don’t let my dogs eat anything other then their normal food and treats because, Bubba (picture) has a sensitive stomach and I don’t want to smell his noxious gas.

* source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog_health#Dangerous_foods
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4 Responses to “Hops are not Man’s Best Friends Friend, A warning for all dog owners”

  1. nate Says:

    I read about this in the first little book I read on homebrewing. I am glad you thought to write about it. I have a four children and a shiatsu. You are absolutely correct in saying both will eat ANYTHING.

    Cute dog!

  2. JT Says:

    Well that is interesting. I can vouch that hops are not poisonous to the American Staffordshire Terrier breed. My dog eats all the hops leaves he can reach, has for two years now and loves to chew the roots (bad dog!).

    I’d like to see a list of breeds effected.

  3. JT Says:

    Reading up on the issue, there isn’t a lot of proof of this. Extremely small sample of cases reported since 2002, 9 is all I can find actual references too.

    I wouldn’t fault people for erring on the side of their dog’s health but my personal experience over the last two years is that hop plants have no effect on my dog at all – who has easily eaten some leaves, roots and eventually cones every day from May through September.

  4. Simply Beer Says:

    I’m glad your dog is not susceptible to the hyperthermia, of the nine cases I saw, 7 were greyhounds. I believe the others were mix breeds, but non the less, I’d hate to see this suffering of hyperthermia in a pet and would error on the side of caution.


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