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Home brewers beware: Ingredient for beer is dangerous for dogs

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“Q” was a happy, healthy 5-year-old dog who loved getting active with her owners.

“We used to take her running quite a bit and she’s super active and energetic,” said her owner, Shauna Young.

Like many Coloradans Shauna and Matt Young love their dog and love beer, so they decided to try home brewing. One of the main ingredients is hops. When they were done they threw the spent hops in the trash and thought nothing of it.

“Matt had noticed she got in the trash, but didn’t think too much of it, just more upset that she did,” Shauna said. “Then later in the yard had noticed she threw up a couple of times and thought she must have gotten something out of her system.”

But as the day went on, they noticed Q was panting, breathing hard, and in distress. So they took her to her vet, Dr. Apryl Steele.

“It’s the first case that I had seen, and that any of my colleagues in this general area had seen,” Steele said.

It turns out spent hops are incredibly toxic to dogs.

“It causes a chemical reaction in the body that causes an uncontrollable elevation of the body temperature,” Steele said. “She ended up 108 degrees, 109, went to emergency and then eventually passed away.”

12 hours after eating the hops, Q had died.

“She was just like our little baby. We don’t have any kids and we put all our nurturing energy into her,” Shauna said.

As Q’s doghouse sits empty in the backyard, The Youngs are using this experience to warn others in the hopes that no dog owners have to see their precious pets suffer the way Q did.

Dr. Steele says the best thing is to treat hops like you would chocolate or antifreeze and keep it completely out of reach of your pets. But if your dog does eat spent hops, if you get it to the vet right away, they do have a chance to get the hops out of their stomach, and try and save them.

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