Who knew such an innocent decoration could be so deadly? I just learned today that some snow globes contain ethylene glycol (antifreeze). Even a few drops could be deadly for your dog!

This came to my attention after a story was shared on Facebook (December 7, 2022):

screen shot of facebook post

When I first saw this story, it was shared in the Rescue Dogs 101 Facebook community group. A member copy and pasted the information, so I immediately went into research mode to confirm the facts.

The owner of these two dogs is Caroline, a dog trainer based in the UK. My heart breaks for her. Losing a pet is devastating no matter the situation.

I do want to reach out to Caroline but want to respect her privacy and grieving at this time of deep loss. Maybe in the future, I will be able to connect with her.

snow globe winter scene with snowman

Snow Globes and Antifreeze Facts­

After a little digging, I found that it is a fact that some snow globes do contain ethylene glycol, more commonly known as antifreeze.

Most of us know that antifreeze is poisonous to people and dogs. But who knew that it was inside a popular winter decoration? 

According to CoolSnowGlobes, “The liquid is just water in the plastic snow globes. Glass snow globes often include glycol, an antifreeze, to keep the glass from breaking if frozen.”

And the Northern New England Poison Center says: “Many people think that snow globes are just filled with water. But some globes, especially ones from overseas, actually have a small amount of ethylene glycol (antifreeze) mixed in. This can help keep the water from freezing during shipping…”

Read more about Antifreeze Poisoning and Your Dog – Questions Answered by Vets

Antifreeze and dogs timeline

If your dog should consume even a small amount of antifreeze, it can be fatal. 

According to the Pet Poison Helpline, there are 3 stages of antifreeze poisoning.

infographic of the 3 stages of anti-freeze poisoning in dogs

Treatment for Antifreeze poisoning in dogs

According to the Pet Poison Helpline, “treatment for ethylene glycol poisoning includes the antidote fomepizole (also known as 4-MP) or ethanol. 

Fomepizole is expensive but life-saving when administered to dogs within the first 8-12 hours of ingestion. In cats, the antidote must be administered within 3 hours of ingestion to be effective; after this period, ethylene glycol poisoning is almost 100% fatal without hemodialysis. Aggressive therapy is necessary to survive.

Read more about Antifreeze Poisoning and Your Dog – Questions Answered by Vets

Home remedies for antifreeze poisoning in dogs

Do NOT attempt to administer any home remedies for antifreeze poisoning in your dog.

As mentioned above, without proper treatment from your vet, antifreeze poisoning is almost 100% fatal.

Pet Poison Helpline

If you think someone swallowed some of the liquid, or if someone got it in their eyes, call your vet immediately.

The Pet Poison Helpline is also a great resource, but they charge a $75 incident fee and will most likely send you to the emergency vet anyway. 

In conclusion

If you have a snow globe, I suggest either giving it away to someone without pets. Or keeping it away from children and pets. 

And if by chance it does break, keep everyone in a separate room while you clean up. 

The best way to help others who have lost pets due to a broken snow globe is to learn from their tragedies. Like Caroline said in her post, “I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.” 

Unfortunately, I don’t think this is the first story of a snow globe killing a dog. On my mission of research, I found articles dated back 2013 and beyond. So help us spread the word, if you have a dog or small children, get those snow globes out of the house or put away in storage.

What’s Next?

Emergencies like this are a great time to have your Dog Health Planner at the tips of your fingers! Learn how to get yours now so you’re prepared for the just in case…

About the Author

Debi McKee

Debi McKee is the expert behind Rescue Dogs 101 where she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She is a mom of 3 human kids and 4 dogs and volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society. Click here for more about Debi and her passion for helping you and your dog.

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