Justin Groom’s new roommate had a rule: a house was not her home until she baked her grandmother’s bread there. While Justin wanted his roommate to feel comfortable in his Denver, Colo. home, he had no idea that her baking adventure would turn into a near tragedy for Dingo, his 2-year-old mixed-breed pup. The incident caused alcohol poisoning and landed Dingo in the emergency animal hospital, earning him the title of November’s “Most Unusual Claim of the Month” by Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI).
After preparing the bread dough in the kitchen, to help the dough rise, Justin’s roommate placed the pan of 24 dinner rolls on the heating vents located on the floor of her room. While the door to the room was closed, 48-pound Dingo smelled the aroma of the bread dough and managed to push his way into the room where he consumed the dough of all two dozen rolls.
Initially, Justin wasn’t very concerned upon realizing his pooch had ingested the dough. Dingo had eaten bread before and, other than appearing very full, he seemed to react normally despite the heavy food consumption. However, a few hours later Justin recognized that the dough ingestion was having unusual effects on Dingo’s behavior.
“After about four hours he started to act a little buzzed and began stumbling around,” explained Justin. “He walked over to his dog bed and tripped over it, landing face first on the pillow. As funny as it appeared, at this point I knew something was wrong and researched the dangers of dough ingestion on the Internet.”
Dingo’s stomach acted as an “artificial oven,” providing a warm, moist environment for the yeast to ferment; this is then metabolized to ethanol (alcohol) and carbon dioxide, resulting in both alcohol poisoning and potential stomach bloat, also known as gastric dilatation-volvulus. “After realizing how poisonous the dough was, I called my veterinarian and they told me to bring him in,” said Justin. “Within that time, Dingo lost nearly all muscle control and was unable to stand for more than a second without falling or running into something. He literally needed to be carried into the animal hospital.”
Following the initial examination, the veterinarian was unsure if Dingo would be able to survive through the night. Because so much time had passed since the dough ingestion, the veterinarian was unable to induce vomiting and had to rely on a variety of medication to keep Dingo conscious and help stimulate his system. Fortunately, Dingo pulled through and has since made a full recovery devoid of any long-term injuries.
“Dingo’s claim shows how dangerous the ingestion of ‘people’ food can be for our pets,” said Carol McConnell, DVM, MBA, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for VPI. “Unbaked bread dough, in particular, can be toxic and even deadly because it ferments into alcohol and can lead to stomach bloat – it’s a double whammy as it causes two potentially life-threatening problems. Veterinarians see more alcohol poisoning – from atypical sources such as unbaked bread dough or rum-soaked baked goods – during the holidays. With the holidays upon us, there are more opportunities for our four-legged friends to ingest potentially harmful foods, so it’s vital that pet owners keep those items out of reach.”
Prior to being adopted by Justin, Dingo was found as a stray dog on the streets of Lakewood, Colo., malnourished and with the appearance of having suffered abuse. For Justin, the terrifying bread dough incident reinforced his belief in the benefits of having pet insurance for Dingo and his 10-year-old dog, Bandit.
“I think the absolute number one reason you should have pet insurance is for peace of mind,” said Justin. “The instant I realized Dingo needed help, I knew I had insurance for him and it wasn’t a question of if I could afford to bring him to the animal hospital. I knew I was covered by VPI Pet Insurance, and that allowed me to focus on what was important – Dingo.”