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Cookie & Bread Dough Health Hazard

    As the holidays descend upon us, there'll be many cooks in the kitchen--but don't spoil your pet by giving him bread dough. According to Jill A. Richardson, DVM, of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), when bread dough is ingested, an animal's body heat causes the dough to rise in the stomach. As alcohol is produced during the rising process, the dough expands. Pet's who've eaten bread dough may experience abdominal pain, bloat, vomiting, disorientation and depression.
    "We once had a case in which a Labrador retriever ate several rolls that the owner had placed on the oven to rise. The owner didn't think much of this, and was just upset that the dog ate part of the holiday feast, " Richardson recalls. "A few hours later, the owner noticed the dog looked very lethargic. He was resistant to move, uncoordinated and was retching." As the symptoms increased, the owner brought him to an emergency clinic, which contacted the APCC. Unfortunately, the dog's stomach was so severely distended that the only option at the time was to surgically remove the dough; he was also treated for alcohol toxicosis, caused by the fermentation of the dough.
    The Labrador was kept at the clinic for the weekend and recovered completely. Although he had ingested quite a bit of dough, an animal needs to eat only a small amount to cause a problem, because bread dough can rise many times its size. Please take care not to let Fluffy or Fido in the kitchen unsupervised when you're baking this holiday season--especially if you've got a professional chow hound who's always on the lookout for food.
In addition to offering information online at, the APCC also runs an emergency hotline at 1-888-4-ANI-HELP that provides round-the-clock telephone assistance.

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