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D2005-02

Dear Daisy Dog

Our dog Barney sometimes eats some of the children’s homemade play dough. He drinks a great deal of water afterwards, but otherwise, he seems fine. I assume he is drinking because of the salt in the play dough. Is it okay to let him eat it?

Daisy Responds

I like salty snacks as much as the next dog. On the rare occasions Mom gives me a potato chip, she says, “I bet you can eat just one” – and she makes sure she wins the bet.

That’s because salt is bad for us dogs. It makes us drink and therefore urinate more than usual, just like when you humans eat too many salty snacks.

Worse, excessive salt can cause life-threatening problems, even when it is in homemade play dough, which you may think is relatively innocuous.

The most common problems it causes us dogs are excessive drinking, vomiting and seizures. Tremors and fever also can occur.

Veterinarians have found that the severity of the toxic reaction is proportional to the sodium level in the dog’s blood. So it seems clear that the salt is the culprit in homemade play dough.

Tell Barney, “I bet you can’t eat even one bite.” Win that bet by supervising him around the children and their play dough.

And next time, use a play dough recipe that doesn’t include salt.

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