The holiday season can be hazardous to dogs and cats – and we’re not just talking about your great aunt’s fruitcake. While there are a host of festive foods and dangerous decorations that most pet parents should avoid (mistletoe, ribbons, tinsel and chocolate, to name a few), there are less obvious seasonal risks that can also put your best friend in harm’s way. Recently, one family learned a sad lesson when their beloved dog Lexi ingested a salt dough ornament, a popular decoration that is toxic to pets.

Salt toxicity in pets

Salt dough ornaments are hazardous to pets due to the fact that the recipes to make them usually require a large amount of salt, which can be toxic to pets, according to veterinarian Kim Smyth. But their scent and appearance could lead to pets thinking they’ve found a treat hanging on the tree.

“Salt toxicity (also known as hypernatremia) can cause vomiting, lethargy, incoordination, twitching, seizures and death in affected dogs and cats. As always, if you suspect your pet of foul play and notice a change in their behavior, consult your veterinarian immediately. Treatment for salt poisoning usually involves strict administration of fluids and electrolyte monitoring, requiring immediate attention.”

In a post shared on Facebook, Hope Pospisil recounted the heartbreaking accident that ultimately led to a life-ending sickness:

“Lexi snuck downstairs today around 7-8am and ate Alice's salt dough ornament (she NEVER does this). We were, of course, so mad at her. She seemed to act normal. We left here at 1pm, thinking she was ok. When we got home around 5pm, she had peed all through her kennel and was shaking uncontrollably. She couldn't even make it back up the stairs, as she fell backwards. We immediately took her to the Vets & we had only 2 options because her body temp was 107 and already caused neurological damage. We could either take her to A-Vets & possibly, if she even made it that far, save her but be a completely different dog or put her to sleep. With heavy hearts, we decided to put her to sleep. We are so heartbroken for not only her but for Alice because Alice & Lexi LOVED each other and she was the best dog anyone could ask for. So please, if you make these ornaments, watch your animals around them. This is not something we ever thought we would have to do to our 2.5 year old dog. 😔 Rest in Peace sweet Lexi girl. We miss you so much.”

As fellow pet parents, our hearts break for the Pospisils and the loss of their beloved Lexi. We hope their warning rings true as a reminder to always keep hidden risks of salt toxicity far from paws’ reach around the holidays.

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Dec 23, 2015
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