Why Uncooked Dough is Bad for Dogs and Cats

If you have a dog or a cat that likes to hang out in the kitchen while you prepare meals, you know they are good at gobbling up anything that might fall on the floor. Often times, pet owners give their dog or cat a little bite of human food if they are hanging around because it’s hard to say no to those adorable eyes begging for a taste. There are several human foods that are actually pet toxins and can have harmful effects on your beloved animals. One of those toxins is uncooked dough. When ingested, the uncooked dough will expand in their warm tummy which will cause major bloating and can lead to gastric-dilation volvulus (GDV.) GDV is a life-threatening condition that causes the stomach to dilate because of the food and gas causing pressure. Often the dilation reaches a point where the animal can’t expel the food or gas, and this can be fatal.

SIGNS & SYMPTOMS TO WATCH FOR

  • Weakness
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Distended Stomach
  • Hyper-Salivation
  • Retching Without Vomiting
  • Extra Firm or Tight Stomach
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Depression
  • Elevated Heart Rate
  • Collapse
  • Low Blood Pressure
  • Hypothermia
  • Coma

When the yeast in the uncooked dough is fermented, the carbon dioxide that is produced from the fermentation process creates alcohol. Alcohol from the fermented yeast gets absorbed into the animal’s bloodstream quickly and causes intense poisoning and drops in blood sugar, body temperature and blood pressure. This then causes seizures and ultimately can lead to death. Your animal might appear to be intoxicated and in fact, they are. They will display symptoms much like humans when intoxicated, inebriation, lack of coordination and central nervous system depression. There are multiple stages your animal will go through after they’ve consumed the uncooked dough and the sooner you get them to a veterinarian, the better chance of survival for your furry friend. The bloating is the first indicator that your dog has eaten something harmful. The alcohol poisoning comes after the yeast has had time to ferment, but this stage could occur even just a half hour after consumption, so it’s important to act immediately if you suspect your dog or cat has eaten uncooked dough. Time could be the difference between life and death.

TREATMENT

Uncooked dough ingestion is considered a pet emergency and should be treated as such from the beginning. As soon as you get your animal to the vet, they will begin diagnostics immediately. Although an option, forcing the animal to vomit isn’t always successful so some vets won’t waste any time trying this route. Getting your animal to ingest cold water will help with the yeast proliferation, so that is something you can do right away, before you head to the vet. Typically, the doctor will do some blood tests to check blood alcohol levels. The earlier mentioned symptoms can also be used as evidence for diagnosis but by checking blood alcohol levels, the doctor will be able to administer fluids and electrolytes to balance out the metabolic abnormalities. Diuretics will most likely be given as well because they help dilute the alcohol in the bloodstream and induce elimination via urination. X-rays may also be taken to identify the extent of the problem and make sure there isn’t any other foreign body that may have been ingested.

Dogs and cats that are treated swiftly have a much better chance of complete recovery from uncooked dough poisoning. If not treated quickly, your animal is at risk for irreversible brain damage and possibly death. So, keep that kitchen floor free of dough and make sure the kids aren’t feeding your pet some uncooked dough the next time you make cookies. We suggest you always error on the side of caution when it comes to food toxicities with your pets, better to withhold the treat than to risk harming your furry friend. If you have any questions for our staff or think your animal might have eaten uncooked dough, please call our office @ 541383.3833.

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