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  • Writer's pictureCuyamaca Animal Hospital

The Unexpected Consequence of Staying Home: Bread Poisoning on The Rise in Dogs

Earlier this year, we saw the effects of collective panic: common, everyday necessities flew off the shelves and became hot commodities. People all over the country stocked up in preparation for stay-at-home orders.

And although bagged sandwich bread remained widely available to the public, ingredients like flour and yeast became hard to come by! By now, you should be very familiar with the bread-making craze brought on by the global pandemic. Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook were inundated with pictures of beautiful, artisanal homemade bread as people took on bread-making hobbies in their spare time. 

At Cuyamaca Animal Hospital, we love fresh-baked bread as much as the next person. However, we’ve also been hearing about an unfortunate number of pets coming through veterinarian doors as a result. Why? Bread poisoning in dogs is on the rise.

sourdough poisoning in dogs

Here’s why dough consumption is so dangerous for pets, and what to do if your pet gets sick:

Raw Dough Toxicity

When we talk about dough, we don’t just mean the dough you use to make bread. As it pertains to hazards for pets, you want to look out for uncooked pizza dough, unbaked bread, uncooked dinner rolls, and other foods requiring raw yeast or dough. 

When a dog gets into the unbaked dough, the environment within his stomach is perfect for “baking.” His stomach is dark, warm, and just like an oven, helps the ingested dough to rise, resulting in a number of problems.

One such problem is bowel obstruction, or a bloated and distended abdomen, which can then lead to stomach twisting. If you’re not already familiar with this life-threatening condition, check out our blog post on it—at the very least, surgery would almost certainly be required in this instance. 

Another surprising consequence of dough consumption could be alcohol poisoning as the yeast ferments in his stomach, releasing both alcohol and carbon dioxide (which also makes bread rise). Alcohol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream which can cause dramatic drops in blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and body temperature. In severe cases, this can lead to seizures and respiratory failure. 

If you fear your pet has gotten into any raw dough at home, look out for the following signs and symptoms:

  • Bloat, or a distended abdomen

  • Gagging and retching

  • Weakness and lethargy

  • The smell of alcohol on the breath

  • Seizures

  • And other signs such as rapid heart rate, low body temperature, and the symptoms of low blood pressure

How Cuyamaca Animal Hospital Can Treat Dough Consumption

The severity of your pet’s condition depends on how much dough he or she has ingested. Regardless, time is of the essence. If you suspect your pet has consumed raw dough, you should call us immediately so that emesis (induced vomiting) can be performed. Emesis is crucial in preventing the aforementioned severe consequences of dough ingestion. 

If emesis can’t be induced, we will look into other treatment options such as gastric lavage (stomach pumping), and pressor agents which can help raise low blood pressure. Additionally, we may prescribe antiemetic medication and fluid therapy. Fortunately, with the proper support and care, most animals can recover within 12-24 hours.

If you’re one of the many (undoubtedly talented!) at-home bread bakers, then you know that bread needs time to rise. We’re certainly not telling you to stop! But even high countertops can pose dangers to the curious cat or hungry pooch. Do your best to find an area in your home to let the bread rise that is totally inaccessible to your pets. Stress the importance to any roommates or family members to keep the pets away, but don’t get too comfortable… animals can be extremely quiet about stealing food!

If your pet manages to snag the dough, try not to panic. Pet parents need to keep a cool head in a long list of unexpected pet accidents! Give us a call immediately at 619-448-0707. Pet health is essential—we’ve remained open and are here to help in almost every emergency, including bread poisoning.

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