Family dog dies because owners know nothing about the dangers of xylitol

family posing with their hungarian vizsla dog-sad © Kate Chacksfield - Facebook

A couple of years ago, Kate Chacksfield's dog died after ingesting some baked goods she'd made for herself. Kate's been sharing her experience to warn others.

By Natasha James

Published on the , Updated on the

We do everything we can to make sure our pets are safe and well but there are everyday household items that can be fatal for our pets.

One such item was used by Ms. Chacksfield when she was baking brownies for herself - and unfotunately, it ended up killing her dog. She has since spoken out in a bid to alert fellow dog owners.

Xylitol around the home

Kate had decided to make brownies, but, in a bid to be a little healthier, she used the sweetener "xylitol" in the brownies rather than sugar.

Ruby, the family's Hungarian Vizsla, cheekily stole a brownie or two from the kitchen worktop but within 36 hours, her health began to rapidly deteriorate. Kate rushed her beloved dog to the vets and despite the dedicated care of a veterinary team, Ruby sadly died a week later.

The smallest amount can be fatal

Xylitol can be found in numerous everyday items such as chewing gum, toothpaste and cake mix. It is considered immensely toxic to dogs and even the smallest amount can lead to fatalities.

‘It takes just half a gram of pure xylitol per kilogram of weight – around an eighth of a teaspoon – to cause liver failure in dogs,’ according to Dr Nicola Robinson, head of Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS). ‘Roughly a quarter of a teaspoon is enough to harm a dog the size of a Labrador.’

Make sure you know which items may contain xylitol

‘I knew about the dangers of chocolate to dogs,’ Kate said, ‘but I had no awareness about xylitol at all.'

‘When she [Ruby] passed away it was just devastating. We are beside ourselves with sadness and guilt. All I can do now is try to raise awareness. It only takes your dog having a lick of the leftovers from a takeaway or yoghurt.’

The symptoms of xylitol poisoning usually appear between 1 and 12 hours after ingestion. These include: 

•    Vomiting
•    Lethargy
•    Disorientation
•    Seizures
•    Tremors
•    Collapse

If you suspect your dog has ingested a toxic substance contact your local vet as soon as possible.

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