Miki’s story: the dangers of yeast dough for dogs

When Sara Myers set out a batch of fresh yeast dough to rise on her back porch, she envisioned serving delicious rolls at her family dinner. Her pup, 13-year old shih-tzu/maltese mix Mikimoto (or “Miki”), had other plans. Sweet little Miki knocked the rising rolls off the table and managed to quickly gobble seven unbaked rolls before she got caught.

What may seem like an innocent feast is actually a highly dangerous situation in the veterinary world. Yeast dough is toxic to dogs when consumed, and the rising dough can expand within the stomach, leading to other complications. Without veterinary attention, yeast dough toxicity can lead to serious lifelong health complications or even death.

Luckily, Sara knew about the dangers of yeast dough for dogs from reading pet health articles and online blogs. So she rushed into action. She was able to pull some of the dough from Miki’s mouth as she was chewing, but she knew Miki swallowed a substantial amount of dough and needed veterinary attention.

Her primary veterinarian’s office was closed, so she took Miki to BluePearl Veterinary Partners, a 24/7 pet hospital in Sarasota, FL. That’s when she met Dr. Wendy Ellis, a senior clinician in the emergency medicine service.

“Dr. Ellis and her team could immediately sense this was bad. They were very quick to respond,” says Sara, “Dr. Ellis asked many questions to assess just how dangerous Miki’s situation was.”

Miki was feeling a bit lethargic at this point, but she was still stable. Dr. Ellis decided to induce vomiting to remove the yeast dough from Miki’s stomach. Fortunately, it worked.

“It was very responsible of Sara to bring Miki in as soon as possible,” said Dr. Ellis, “The key to treating yeast dough ingestion in dogs is to seek immediate veterinary attention. If you start treatment quickly, there are usually no serious effects on the dog’s health.”

Dr. Ellis also warns about the dangers of yeast dough. The carbon dioxide produced by rising bread dough can cause bloat, or distention of the stomach. The expansion of the dough in the stomach can also put dangerous pressure on the aorta and diaphragm, which causes difficulty breathing and circulatory problems. Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV), a deadly twisting of the stomach which is more common in large, deep chested dogs, can also occur. This is a surgical emergency.  The dough itself is also toxic, as it produces ethanol (alcohol) which is incredibly harmful to a dog when it enters the bloodstream. Ethanol toxicity can lead to a dangerous drop in blood pressure, seizures and death.

“People often think ‘it’s okay, it’s just bread,’ but raw yeast dough is very different when it comes to a dog’s health,” says Dr. Ellis, “When in doubt, bring your dog in for treatment. The risks are much greater if left untreated. Dough consumption can be a life threatening situation if left untreated.”

Soon after vomiting, Miki started feeling back to her normal self and was able to return home.  Dr. Ellis advised Sara to make sure Miki stayed hydrated, and to watch for difficulty breathing or walking off balance.

“Miki was a little bit tired from the medication, but she recovered well,” said Sara, “She has always been a food motivated dog. She is also very sweet, and still acts like a puppy at age 13. We live by the water, and her favorite thing to do is explore the beach.”

Luckily, the quick actions from both Sara and Dr. Ellis saved Miki’s life and prevented severe medical complications.

“We were so impressed by the medical care at BluePearl,” said Sara, “They treated Miki like family from the moment we walked in.”

Sara was still able to serve a family dinner that evening – but unfortunately, there were no bread rolls.

If your dog eats yeast dough, please seek immediate veterinary attention at your primary veterinarian’s office or your closest emergency pet hospital.