A Pennsylvania family is heartbroken after its beloved dog died after eating a Christmas ornament made out of salt dough.
Hope and Larry Pospisil are warning other pet owners about the dangers of salt dough ornaments after the family's 2-year-old boxer dog, Lexi, died after eating an ornament containing the material, which is toxic to dogs.
According to a message that Hope posted on Facebook, Lexi sneaked downstairs around 7 or 8 a.m. on Dec. 15 and ate the ornament, which the couple had made for their baby daughter, Alice.
(The salt dough ornament that the Pospisils' dog ate. Photo Credit: Hope Pospisil/Facebook)
In the post, Hope explained that the dog seemed OK at first, but when the family returned home around 5 p.m. that day, they discovered that she had urinated all over her kennel and was "shaking uncontrollably." According to the Facebook post, the dog could not climb the stairs without falling over.
The couple took Lexi to a veterinarian, where it was discovered that she had suffered neurological damage due to the salt ornament and that her body temperature was 107 degrees.
The family said they were given two options at that point.
"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," Hope explained in the post. "With heavy hearts, we decided to put her to sleep."
Hope wrote that the decision was an extremely difficult one for the family.
"We are so heartbroken not only for [Lexi] but for Alice because Alice LOVED each other and she was the best dog anyone could ask for," Hope added.
"Rest in Peace sweet Lexi," she wrote at the end of the post. "We miss you so much."
The post received more than 82,000 shares and 146 comments as of Dec. 21.
Facebook users writing in the comments section responded to the message with a flood of sympathy for the Pospisils.
"I can only imagine of something like that happened to my dog," one poster wrote. "Prayers are with you guys!"
"No words can express losing a fur baby, especially losing her this way," another commenter posted. "So sorry you had to go thru this!"
Larry posted in the comments section that he hoped the family's tragedy would help spread awareness of the potential danger posed by salt-based Christmas ornaments to household pets.
Hope posted a follow-up message on Dec. 16 thanking Facebook posters for all of the support the family has received.
"I'm so happy that Lexi is being a voice for all other dogs that could have had the same outcome," she added.
The Humane Society of the United States lists salt and yeast dough as foods that can be safely eaten by humans but are potentially dangerous to pets.