Holiday Baking Advisory Concerning Your Pets: The Dangers of Dough

November 20, 2018

a pit bull licking her lips

With the holiday season upon us, menu planning and baking are on a lot of people’s minds. For some, homemade bread dough may be on the menu. As we all know, once baked, bread is quite tasty. But raw bread dough can actually be a serious danger for pets who ingest it. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) has everything you need to know to keep your pets safe while you bake this holiday season.

What makes raw dough a problem?

Yeast commonly used in bread dough uses simple sugars in the flour to produce carbon dioxide and ethanol (alcohol) to help bread rise. When pets, typically dogs, ingest raw bread dough, the yeast finds the warm environment of the stomach a perfect place to continue its work in helping the bread rise.   Over time, the dough will expand to fill the entire stomach and distend it.  The ethanol will be absorbed by the pet and lead to drunkenness.  

What problems will my pet have?

If a pet has ingested raw dough, they may vomit, or they may try to vomit but be unable to bring anything up due to the size of the dough. Their abdomen may be distended which leads to discomfort, causing panting or an inability to lay down and get comfortable. The ethanol ingested will cause them to be uncoordinated, walk unsteadily and be mentally dull.  

What do I do if my pet eats dough?

Fortunately, there are many things that can be done to help pets who consume raw bread dough. Slowing yeast activity by giving small amounts of cool or cold water is a common step. But one of the primary and most basic treatments with yeast dough ingestion is to try and get it out. This may be done in several different ways depending on the pet and how they are doing. To best determine how to treat your pet or get the dough from their system, it is best to call APCC at (888) 426-4435 or your veterinarian for guidance. 

If your pet is distressed or showing toxicity symptoms, prompt veterinary care will be needed for further treatment.

The best form of treatment for cases like these is often prevention. Keep any baking items or dough up and out of paws’ reach, and consider keeping your furry friends out of a busy kitchen during the holidays.