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Dog owner warns of household item that could be fatal for dogs

Xylitol can cause fatalities in dogs © Kate Chacksfield - Facebook

In February this year, Kate Chacksfield's dog died after ingesting the artificial sweetener, Xylitol. Kate's been sharing her experience to warn others about the toxic chemical.

By Natasha James, 15 Dec 2019

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 is the artificial sweetener, xylitol. The chemical can be lethal if ingested by dogs and Ms. Chacksfield has spoken out in a bid to alert fellow dog owners to the dangers.

Xylitol around the home

Kate had decided to make brownies, much to the delight of her Hungarian Viszla, Ruby, who loved her owner’s cooking. But, in a bid to be a little healthier, Kate used the sweetener in the brownies rather than sugar.

As dogs tend to do, Ruby cheekily stole a brownie or two from the kitchen worktop but within 36 hours, her health began to rapidly deteriorate.

Urgent medical care

Kate rushed her beloved dog to the vets and despite the dedicated care of a veterinary team, Ruby sadly died a week later.

Kate’s final point of call was the The Royal Veterinary College in London

‘It was there they asked if she could have consumed xylitol,’ Kate told iNews, ‘and I thought “oh my god, the brownies”, but by then sadly it was too late to save her.’

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.’

‘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

The festive season is fast approaching and visitors can give treats to our pets without us knowing so now is a great time to remind ourselves of the dangers.

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