My Dog Ate Garland What Should I Do?

Reviewed By Kyoko •  Updated: 03/03/21 •  3 min read
Dog Moderate Toxicity Level
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Tinsel garland is an extremely popular decoration for the Christmas holidays. It’s often used on the Christmas tree, around the fireplace mantle, and in other places as a holiday decoration. Tinsel garland is very pretty in the way it catches the light, too.

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However, what happens if your dog eats tinsel garland? Can tinsel garland make your dog sick?

What is Tinsel Garland?

You’ve more than likely seen and used a tinsel garden that’s usually popular for the holidays. It looks metallic, shiny and comes in a wide range of colors. It’s very pretty when used to decorate.

Tinsel garland first became popular in German in the 1600s, when it was made from shredded silver. And the word “tinsel” comes from the Old French word étincelle, which means “sparkle.”

It is strongly recommended to contact a Pet Poison Helpline or your veterinarian.

In the past, tinsel garland was made from silver or lead. Then, in the early 20th century, tinsel garland was made from aluminum. These days, a tinsel garland is made from a film of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which may be coated in a metallic finish.

Some dogs will eat anything, including tinsel garland! But can tinsel make your dog sick?

Tinsel Garland & Dogs

The good news is that tinsel is not toxic. However, tinsel can pose another serious danger to dogs. Because tinsel garland is usually on a string, if swallowed by a dog, the tinsel can become a linear foreign body in the dog. This means the garland can get caught in the stomach, which means the digestive tract can’t get rid of the tinsel.

The intestines keep trying to expel the garland. This can lead to the garland cutting through the dog’s intestines, which can lead to serious damage to the intestines or even death. Another danger is that the intestines could rupture, which is extremely painful and could also lead to death.

These are issues that need to be treated quickly in order to save the dog’s life.

Symptoms of Garland Ingestion

You may notice these symptoms if your dog has eaten tinsel garland:

If you notice any of these symptoms in your dog, call the vet immediately. This is a medical emergency.

Treatment of Garland Ingestion in Dogs

At the vet’s, they will perform a physical exam of your dog, which may include lab work and imaging tests (x-rays or CT scans). The imaging tests will show where and if the garland has created a blockage.

Treatment may involve giving your dog an IV for fluids and medications. And in many cases, the dog may require emergency surgery to remove the garland and repair any damage it may have caused.

Your fur baby may need to stay in the hospital for a couple of days so the vet can monitor him. The good news is that in most cases if the dog receives prompt medical treatment, he’ll make a full recovery!

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Kyoko is from a family of 3 and moved to New York with her parents and siblings when she was 13. Kyoko is fond of spending a great amount of time with pets, specifically her beagle Luna and cat Missy. Her boyfriend often complains that she spends too much time giving attention to their animals. Kyoko has written dozens of articles concerning pets and is aiming at owning a pet shop one day!

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