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Golden Retriever Poisoned After Eating Thanksgiving Bread Rolls

Pippa the Golden Retriever
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With the holidays right around the corner, the family of a Knoxville, Tennessee Golden Retriever named Pippa is warning pet parents not to suffer the same fate they did.

What started as a joyful family gathering on Thanksgiving Day last year turned very dangerous. There’s an old saying about curiosity killing the cat. Unfortunately, the adage applies to dogs as well.

“I had left a dozen unbaked bread rolls on the kitchen counter to rise, covering them with a towel,” stated Rebecca Collins, Pippa’s dog mom. “When I went to put them in the oven, I found that half of them were gone. I knew I didn’t eat them, but it took me a while to figure out what happened. It didn’t occur to me Pippa would be interested in bread dough.”

Collins noticed that Pippa became very sleepy, which is very unusual for the rambunctious 2-year-old Retriever. Since she would normally be full of energy and visiting with family members, Collins took immediate action.

bread dough

She immediately called the Pet Poison Helpline (PPH) and discovered that yeasty unbaked bread rolls are dangerous if ingested by dogs or cats. PPH instructed Collins to take Pippa to the veterinary hospital immediately.

One of the senior toxicology veterinarians at PPH, Dr. Renee Schmid, explained there are several reasons unbaked dough can be fatal to dogs and cats.


  • The unbaked dough expands in the stomach’s warm environment
  • Carbon dioxide gas is released, causing a bloated, distended stomach
  • Ethanol from the fermenting yeast absorbs into the dog’s bloodstream

The result is a perfect storm. Not only did five hours pass since Pippa ingested the rolls, but the ethanol was working its way through her bloodstream, which put her in danger of alcohol poisoning.

Ingestion of alcohol can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature. Severely intoxicated animals can potentially experience seizures and respiratory failure.

Dr. Schmid

Pippa arrived with an elevated heart rate and a distended abdomen. A whopping 90 percent of her abdominal lumen was filled with the yeasty dough substance. The team placed Pippa on intravenous fluids while offering ice and cold water to counteract the dough’s rising process.

Since five hours had passed, inducing vomiting would have caused more damage. The team planned to wait it out and allow Pippa to pass the dough on her own. If she was unable to do so, surgery was imminent.

Golden Retriever at table

“Luckily, it didn’t come to surgery,” Pippa’s mom reported. “It was a very expensive Thanksgiving Day at the dog ER, but she’s back to full health now.”

Keep your pets away from dangerous human foods, including unbaked bread dough. Nothing ruins a holiday like spending it in an emergency veterinary hospital with a very sick animal. We are happy that Pippa recovered without long-term effects.