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Dough is a major don’t


By Annique Boyle, veterinary student at Tuskegee University in Alabama, USA. We can all agree that homemade bread is delicious and I’m sure many of our furry companions share our sentiments. {{more}}However, Fido and Kitty may be a little more indiscriminant than we are – if let be, your pet might happily scarf down one or two uncooked loaves in the blink of an eye. Unfortunately, raw bread dough can pose a serious threat to our pets.

Dough rises because of the yeast in it. As the yeast undergoes alcoholic fermentation, carbon dioxide and alcohol (ethanol) are produced as by-products. The carbon dioxide serves to “blow up” the ball of dough like a balloon, while the ethanol helps to flavour the bread when it evaporates while the bread is baking. When Fido eats a wad of dough, his warm, moist stomach provides the perfect environment for the yeast to undergo this process. The wad of dough will continue to expand and produce alcohol for as long as it is in his stomach. The end result is a drunk dog, with a big stiff belly.

The distended stomach can pose a great deal of discomfort for Fido, and in the worst case scenario can cause the stomach to twist on itself, a condition known as gastric dilation and volvulus. Fido may also encounter respiratory problems due to the expanded stomach pressing on his diaphragm.

The longer the dough stays in Fido, the worse it is for him. A steady amount of alcohol is being produced that will be absorbed directly into his bloodstream; this can eventually lead to alcohol poisoning. At first, Fido may just seem unsteady and drowsy, but if left untreated for long enough, more severe symptoms will arise, such as profound neurological depression, weakness, coma, low body temperature and/or seizures. Death is usually due to the effects of alcohol rather than from the stomach distention.

So if you’ve been baking and you notice that one of your rising dough rolls is missing and you have any suspicion that Fido or Kitty is the culprit, call your veterinarian right away. Your vet may induce vomiting if your pet is not showing clinical signs of alcohol poisoning, but this should not be attempted at home, as the dough can become stuck, and stomach rupturing can occur. Surgical removal of the dough mass may be required if a large enough amount has been ingested that does not show any signs of moving through the digestive system on its own. Your pet will then have to be stabilized with IV fluids until the alcohol poisoning has run its course.

For further information, contact: Dr Collin Boyle
Unique Animal Care Co. Ltd. Tel: 456 4981