Species: Dog Breed: Golden Retriever Age: 2-5 years
Are brewers grains safe for dogs? My husband wants to buy some dog treats that are made with brewers grains, but I thought I read somewhere that they are toxic for dogs.
What do you think?
Dr. Marie replied:
I do not recommend feeding brewers grain to your dog. Although some dogs can handle this ingredient well, it can cause very serious problems in others.
Ingestion of brewers grain can cause a condition called malignant hyperthermia in dogs.
Malignant hyperthermia is a very serious condition. Dogs that get this condition have a genetic issue that causes them to be affected. The following breeds of dogs are known to possibly be susceptible to malignant hyperthermia:
English Springer Spaniel
If your dog has the genetic mutation that causes malignant hyperthermia then any of the following can trigger the disease:
Exposure to gas anesthetic, especially one called halothane
Ingestion of coffee or brewers grains
Symptoms of malignant hyperthermia include a high body temperature, muscle contractions and seizures. It can be life threatening and sadly there have been many cases of dogs dying after eating
Now, with all of this said, I think that it's possible that most of the treats that are out there that are made from spent grains are probably NOT going to cause your dog to get malignant hyperthermia. I suspect that in order to get ill, the dog would have to eat a large amount of brewers grains. There is probably not enough brewers grain in these treats to trigger malignant hyperthermia.
But, I personally would not recommend feeding these treats as we simply don't know enough about how brewers grain can trigger malignant hyperthermia.
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Dr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.
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