By Sunday, December 15, 2019 6 No tags Permalink

Holiday hazards for dogs came too close to home for me this week. Things that we view as safe for us humans can be toxic and life threatening for our dogs.

Before I share two stories with you, the spoiler alert is that BOTH have happy endings.

But as my Nana used to say – 

It could have easily went the other way…

Weeks before Christmas – many of the holiday festivities are in full swing. Office parties, gifts accumulating under the tree, cookie exchanges, friends dropping in to eat – drink and be merry.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

…but for Moose, Robert, Jaxson and I – it was a terrifying beginning to the holiday season.



I’ve heard many times how in a blink of an eye, a dog can get into ________#fillintheblank

Friday I had that experience and let me tell you – it was nerve-racking.

Jaxson accompanied me to a speaking engagement for well over one hundred people. He’s great at “working the crowd” as I talk about the growing evolution of pet therapy…

If everyone in the room is comfortable around a dog, after the first three or four slides, I will walk to the center of the room and allow him to visit with each round table.

People generally rub, hug, squeeze and take selfies which helps demonstrate how quickly their endorphins have changed by his presence. 

Well, little did I know as Jaxson responded to a call from a table in the rear of the conference room, he walked past a line of tables filled with human holiday cookies!

I had no idea the cookies were there – I was focused on the people. 

As I saw his front legs levitate off the ground, I crouched down in Olympian track and field fashion ready to sprint across the room towards him.

Much to my dismay I reached him AFTER the big gulp was over. Jaxson had inhaled a cookie and I had no idea –

  • what kind
  • how it was baked
  • what was in it.

I knew nothing.

My first instinct was to ram my fist down his throat and retrieve what he had consumed, but you all know that wasn’t going to work. An angelic voice quickly and quietly spoke up from across the room – 

Don’t worry, those were my cookies. They’re peanut butter. There’s no chocolate in there, they’re safe, my dogs eat them all the time.

Mortified and scared Doodleless, I struggled to continue the presentation. I didn’t feel better until we left the conference about an hour later and he threw up the cookie.

I watched him like a hawk the rest of the day and night.


Xylitol toxicity in dogs has got to be THE most lethal because this ingredient can be found in so many products in our homes – 

There are certain sugar-free gums, candies, toothpastes, mouthwashes, and baked goods which contain xylitol, a 5-carbon sugar alcohol used as a sweetener. When ingested by dogs, xylitol may cause vomiting, loss of coordination, seizures, and in severe cases, liver failure.


If this is something new to you, please familiarize yourself with – 

  • those household products that use it
  • what happens if your dog consumes it
  • the symptoms of xylitol poisoning

If you ever suspect your dog has eaten sugar-free gum, or come in contact with anything whose ingredient contains xylitol – contact your vet IMMEDIATELY and note the type and amount of gum (or product) ingested!



This story is about Moose, an adorable black lab. How uncanny for me to start writing about Jaxson the Cookie Monster to then see this email. What happened to Moose could very easily happen to any of our beloved four legged family members – 


Just wanted to give you a heads up that Moose won’t make his normal rounds this week. Moose got into some wrapped Christmas gifts that had gum in one of them. He only ate a small amount of gum and threw it up soon after consuming it.  However, the gum contained Xylitol.  This ingredient is in most sugar free candies and gum.  Xylitol is extremely toxic for dogs and Moose had to spend several days at the ER.

I had no idea that chewing gum was so toxic and we are now making sure it doesn’t ever come in our house again.  A single pack of gum is toxic enough to kill most dogs.  Being fat actually saved Moose’s life.


As it relates to his work at the Medical University of South Carolina.  One of the night shift vet techs recognized Moose.  I was fortunate enough to talk with her for a bit.  She once was a patient at MUSC and told me how difficult that experience was for her.  The only thing that got her through it were the therapy dogs that came to visit.  Moose was one of them.

A different vet tech told us that same vet tech (the prior patient) spent most of her overnight shift sitting with Moose in his kennel caring for him.  He wasn’t assigned to her.  She was comforting him as he did for her several months ago when she was a patient at MUSC.  

Sometimes our therapy dogs need therapy themselves for their selfless duties.  Moose was fortunate to receive that based on this work at MUSC.

He is now home and safe.  We hope to be back to work next week.

I called Moose’s pet parent when I left church. He said Moose started to seize and experienced temporary loss of sight as a result of the Xylitol in his system.

So grateful Moose is home, doing better and is expected to have a full recovery…


Lets continue to be diligent in all that we do around our fluffy companions. Feel free to read about drug toxicity in dogs when you get some time.

If there is anything else out there that you believe everyone needs to know – write about it in your blogs. Share it in the comments here at Groovy Goldendoodles.

The more we know the more we grow ❤️

  • Madison
    December 16, 2019

    Tomorrow we are doing our holiday hazard post. With the puppy in the house, we have to be especially careful as she is into everything, all the time!

    • Cathy Bennett
      December 30, 2019

      I always smile when I read about the Olivia escapades – she is so adorable and I love all her stories!

  • Ducky's Mom
    December 16, 2019

    Bless you for posting this important information!! And I’m glad both Jaxson and Moose have recovered from their hazardous escapades.

    I posted some information in one of my blog posts about heartworm disease in dogs when Radar first came to live with us. I was going to write up another once he tested negative. Unfortunately – as you know – we lost him to the disease last week and it’s too painful to write about the disease right now.

    • Cathy Bennett
      December 30, 2019

      Yes I know Radar’s loss is still much too new – take your time. Heartworm disease is also a very dangerous disease, more people need to know about it. Hugs to you and Ducky from me and the Boys my friend.

  • Tails Around the Ranch
    December 16, 2019

    So glad to hear there were happy endings on both stories. Xylitol is insidious in food and with dogs, you can never be too careful. Happy ‘howlidays!’

    • Cathy Bennett
      December 30, 2019

      It was a very scary sequence of events, from the seizures to non responsive, to temporary blindness. I cannot begin to imagine how frightening that ordeal was for the family. I love the dog, he’s such a big overweight cuddle bug, it was a scary time. I had no idea it was in so many foods though, that’s why I felt so compelled to write about it and hopefully share the information with as many people as possible.