Why should I not leave rising bread dough on the counter?

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Rising bread dough can be fatal to both dogs and cats, and should never be left on the counter where they can get at it.

First, the bread dough contains yeast to help it rise. Once ingested, the yeast will continue to rise or expand within the dog’s belly. As it swells, it stretches the dog’s belly and causes pain.

Second, bread dough ferments and creates alcohol-like enzymes. This can lead to alcohol poisoning. Alcohol has the same effect on your dog’s brain and liver as it does on a human’s—but it takes less to do the damage. It doesn’t take much for you to see vomiting, diarrhea, central nervous depression, difficulty breathing, coma and even death. Just like humans, the smaller the dog, the less alcohol required to see the effects.

It’s not just bread dough, however, that can pose a danger to your dog; the kitchen can contain many items that are dangerous to dogs. Some products you should be aware of include:

  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Caffeine
  • Nutmeg and other spices
  • Chocolate
  • Fruit pits and seeds
  • Grapes
  • Raisins
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Avocado
  • Some plants
  • Household chemicals
  • Sharp objects
  • Spoiled food

Ask your veterinarian, or your local ASPCA, for a complete list of items to avoid.

Trash is one of the greatest kitchen dangers. Keep it secured in an inaccessible location, such as in the cabinet under the sink, or in a trash compactor. Potentially deadly or toxic food items should be disposed of in a covered outdoor trash barrel. Potato trimmings and potato eyes can be deadly and damage the nervous system and kidneys. Apple seeds contain potentially deadly arsenic. Moldy foods can contain toxins. Bones can cause intestinal obstructions. Cherry pits, cherry leaves, peach pits, avocado pits, apple cores can also be toxic or potentially dangerous to the digestive system. Fat trimmings from meat can cause a bout of potentially-deadly pancreatitis.

Don’t forget the dishwasher! Keep the door firmly closed and, if possible, locked so your dog cannot access the dishes inside. You don’t want it to lick the dirty plates.

If your dog ingests something it shouldn’t, don’t panic, but do call your local ASPCA poison center or animal emergency hospital.

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