Golden retriever poisoned by bread dough rising on Thanksgiving Day

A Tennessee family is grateful their dog survived Thanksgiving last year and wants to help others do the same.

On Thanksgiving Day, Knoxville resident Becky Collins was busy getting ready to host a company. The mother-of-three – plus a mischievous golden retriever pup named Pippa – had mixed bread dough which she shaped into a dozen buns. Then she placed a tea towel over it for the final, several-hour climb.

“When I went to bake the buns, I pulled the towel out and half of them were missing,” she told TODAY. “Sneakily, the dog had obtained the rolls without disturbing the towel. I don’t know how she did it.

Because Collins was carried away by the hustle and bustle of the entertainment, it didn’t occur to her that eating raw dough could be dangerous for her dog. After she, her husband and young children said goodbye to their after-dinner guests, Collins noticed the normally high-energy 2-year-old dog was lethargic and napping.

“That’s when I started thinking, ‘Oh, the yeast is rising. I’m going to call someone and see what they recommend,'” she said.

A frantic internet search led her to call the Pet Poison Helpline, where a veterinary professional learned of Pippa’s weight, symptoms and amount of bread ingested and recommended that she go straight to a pet hospital. emergency.

Sure enough, the Animal Emergency & Specialty Center team in Knoxville had to hospitalize Pippa overnight. Part of the treatment was giving her ice cubes to keep the heat from causing the dough to rise in her stomach, according to Collins.

Fortunately, Pippa passed the paste on her own instead of needing surgery to extract it.

“It was a close call – we got really lucky,” Collins said.

When Pippa acted lethargic instead of enthusiastically interacting with the family, Collins realized something was wrong and called the Pet Poison Helpline. Becky Collins

She hopes others will learn from her experience to avoid similar scares – or worse.

“Just be aware that there are normal foods that could be in your Thanksgiving meal that could be dangerous to your pets while they’re still cooking, or even after they’re cooked,” she said. “When in doubt, keep things out of the reach of animals.”

With veterinary care, Pippa survived by ingesting leavening bread dough.
With veterinary care, Pippa survived by ingesting leavening bread dough.Becky Collins

Dr. Renee Schmid, a Pet Poison Helpline-certified veterinary toxicologist, said calls to the 24/7 helpline always increase during holidays, especially food-centric ones like Thanksgiving. She noted that there are two main concerns with bread dough that contains yeast: the risk of a deadly stomach twist — aka “bloat” — and alcohol poisoning.

“What would happen sitting on your kitchen counter would eventually happen in your pet’s stomach,” she told TODAY. “This dough rises and causes the stomach to stretch, or distension. And then this fermenting yeast produces ethanol, an alcohol. These animals can therefore develop alcohol poisoning.

Fortunately, the prognosis is “excellent” if treated early. But if a dog has had alcohol poisoning for hours and hours or is experiencing neurological changes, or has a significantly distended stomach, the outlook is poorer, she said.

So, as the saying goes, prevention is the best cure. Schmid warned that other toxic foods for dogs and cats include grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, chocolate and the sugar substitute xylitol, which is typically used in gum and mints. without sugar (and many other products).

“Even onion powder and garlic powder can be a concern because they’re more concentrated so the animal doesn’t have to ingest as much,” she said. “And we certainly have to be careful of turkey bones and turkey fat that can cause foreign body issues or pancreatitis.”

Dogs often have a hard time resisting temptation.
Dogs often have a hard time resisting temptation. Pet Poison Helpline

Depending on their personality, pets may be most comfortable over Thanksgiving in a quiet room with water, toys, and other comfort items — and away from temptations.

When social dogs are included in the celebration, Schmid recommends keeping food out of reach and asking guests not to feed table scraps (and that overnight guests keep their medicine in a cupboard or high above on a chest of drawers). You can even whip up a bowl of dog treats for visitors who can’t resist the power of puppy eyes.

“Try to resist the temptation and just remember that you don’t want to end these celebrations because you have to take your pet to the vet and end up with a hospital visit for your pet,” he said. she stated. “To be strong.”

Pippa survived by eating rising bread dough, but would do it again in a heartbeat if given the chance.
Pippa survived by eating rising bread dough, but would do it again in a heartbeat if given the chance. Becky Collins

Ultimately, it is our responsibility to keep our pets safe since they won’t be doing it themselves. For example, even after her escapades with bread dough rising last Thanksgiving, Pippa didn’t learn her lesson. The Collins family still has to lock their trash cans to protect their counter-surfer dog from danger.

“If I’m baking bread, I let it go up on top of the fridge now,” Collins said. “But this Thanksgiving, I think I’ll let someone else bring the rolls.”

Pet Poison Helpline is open 24/7 at (855) 764-7661 and costs $75 per incident. For more information visit: