If you have a dog, you know how much they love to sneak into the trash at every opportunity. Unfortunately, if they get into the artificial sweetener Xylitol, it may prove fatal.
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol. You have probably encountered it without even knowing. It’s in lots of things we put in our mouths, like sugar-free gum, candy, and even toothpaste. People who cut back on sugar use it to sweeten their foods, drinks, and treats. You might have it in your house right now.
For humans it’s fantastic. It helps us keep real sugar out of our mouths! We love it.
Sadly, in dogs, Xylitol causes low blood sugar, seizures, liver failure, and death. The prognosis is not good.
The Dangers of Xylitol Dog Poisoning
Kate Chacksfield’s dog Ruby died in London after he ate brownies he found in the trash that were sweetened with Xylitol.
I’ve always heard chocolate can kill a dog. Have you?
According to my vet and HillsPet, it’s technically true. But if they don’t eat too much for their size, they’ll probably just get a bad tummy ache.
This event wasn’t Ruby’s introduction to brownies. She had found her way to them before, which is why her owner didn’t freak out when she saw her fur baby had eaten them again. She didn’t realize that the earlier brownies were sweetened with real sugar, not an artificial sweetener.
If my dog that ate two brownies and was acting sick, I most likely would have blamed the chocolate in the brownie, too. That’s why Kate is telling her story.
“We did everything we could to save Ruby – she was so loved and we all miss her dearly. We really had hope she would pull through so we were heartbroken when she didn’t. We’d love to be able to save other dogs from going through what Ruby went through by raising awareness on the dangers of Xylitol for dogs,” said Kate.
First, symptoms might not happen immediately.
Ruby found the brownies in the garbage, ate two, and went on, just as she had before. It took another 36 hours to before she showed any sign at all of being sick.
Had Kate known anything about Xylitol poisoning earlier, she would have known to take Ruby to the vet right away.
Second, Ruby might have been saved if she’d gotten care quicker.
Of course, as soon as the dog showed the first sign of being sick, Kate rushed her to the hospital. Unfortunately, she was already in liver failure. Eight days and more than $12,000 later, poor Ruby passed away.
Xylitol poisoning symptoms in dogs are:
Lack of coordination or difficulty walking or standing
Depression or lethargy
Finally, Kate has an important warning.
“It takes just a quarter of a teaspoon of sweetener to harm a dog,” she said. “I really, really urge other dog owners to read up on the dangers of Xylitol in dogs and urgently take their pets to the vet if they accidentally consume it as it could be the difference between life and death.”
If you suspect your dog has eaten Xylitol, rush to your local vet immediately. Some people say to try to induce vomiting white others say that will make them worse. I think I’d do whatever my vet told me to.
What do you think? Had you ever heard of this kind of poisoning before?