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A family is warning pet owners about the danger of a popular craft project and decoration that caused the death of their dog, Lexi.

While not supervised, two-and-a-half-year-old Lexi snuck downstairs in the home of Larry and Hope Pospisil and ate a salt ornament, which the couple had crafted with their young daughter. It featured a purple paw print. The Pospisils didn’t think much of the incident and left the house for a few hours.

“When we got home around 5 p.m., [Lexi] had peed all through her kennel and was shaking uncontrollably. She couldn't even make it back up the stairs, as she fell backwards,” Hope wrote on Facebook. By the time they arrived at the vet, Lexi had already suffered neurological damage and had to be put to sleep.

 

With tear filled eyes, I'm writing this as a warning to everyone. Lexi snuck downstairs today around 7-8am and ate Alice…

Posted by Hope Pospisil on Tuesday, December 15, 2015

 

Salt ornaments are made by mixing equal parts flour and salt with water, forming it into a shape, decorating it (sometimes also pressing a paw or a hand into it), and baking it. Although none of the ingredients in the ornament is inherently toxic to dogs, the amount of sodium leads to salt toxicosis, explains Jo Marshall, a veterinary technician with the Pet Poison Helpline. “These homemade ornaments are very appealing to dogs for some odd reason,” she wrote. Symptoms of salt toxicosis include vomiting, diarrhea, and “drunk” walking, as well as seizures, coma, or death.

If you plan to hang salt dough ornaments from your tree, place them high where your dog cannot reach them, or better yet, avoid putting them out altogether. If your pet eats a salt dough ornament, contact your veterinarian and the Pet Poison Helpline (855-764-7661) immediately.

Learn about other common Christmas- and holiday-related dangers.

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