Xylitol is toxic to dogs and can cause low blood sugar, seizures, liver failure and even death in canines who ingest the sugar alcohol.

By Kelli Bender
April 01, 2019

A dog owner from West London, England, is turning her grief into an important lesson for other pet parents.

According to , Kate Chacksfield’s canine Ruby died after sneaking and eating two brownies the contained xylitol — a natural sugar substitute.

Xylitol is toxic to dogs and can cause low blood sugar, seizures, liver failure and even death in canines who ingest the sugar alcohol.

This is unfortunately what happened to Ruby. Thirty-six hours after eating the brownies, the Vizla became ill. Her healthy deteriorated rapidly over the next week, even though Chacksfield took Ruby to the vet as soon as the dog became sick.

RELATED: Dog Owner Warns Others of Saltwater Poisoning After Beloved Lab Dies After Florida Beach Visit

RELATED: 12 Ways Pets Improve Your Health

After close to $13,000 in medical bills and eights days of illness, Ruby died.

“I had no idea how serious eating natural sweeteners was for dogs, the photos of her on life support still make me cry,” Chacksfield told .

The owner added that she didn’t take Ruby to the vet immediately after the dog ate the brownies because she didn’t know Xylitol was so dangerous for dogs to ingest. Chocolate is also toxic for dogs, but Chacksfield said that when Ruby had snuck brownies made with regular sugar in the past, the small amount of chocolate never had a negative effect on the dog.

“I only made brownies with Xylitol in to reduce the amount of sugar I was eating,” the owner said.

Chacksfield now wishes she was aware of the dangers of xylitol before she made the brownies, because then she would’ve known to take Ruby to the vet immediately after she ate the treats. Instead, the owner took the canine, who Chacksfield adopted when the pooch was a puppy, to The Royal Veterinary College in London after the dog started showing symptoms of liver failure; by then it was too late.

RELATED: The 4 Things Every Pet Owner Needs to Do to Keep Their Home Germ-Free

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About Pet Fostering—and How to Get Started

“We just thought she may have eaten some by mistake in the park or something – it never crossed my mind to mention the brownies, ” she said.

For Chacksfield the only good that can come out of this tragic situation is more awareness about the dangers of Xylitol. She hopes Ruby’s story will prevent other dogs from suffering the same fate.

“It takes just a quarter of a teaspoon of sweetener to harm a dog,” the owner added.

RELATED: 5 Summer Safety Tips Every Dog Owner Should Know

Xylitol can be found in many sugar-free sweets, gums, spreads and peanut butters. Dog owners should check the label of the sugar-free products they buy and make sure to keep any products containing xylitol somewhere inaccessible to pets.

Xylitol is not the only human food that can cause serious trouble for your pets.

Many dog owners know , but warns that onions and garlic, grapes and raisins, raw meat, raw eggs and macadamia nuts are all human foods that are toxic to dogs. All of these foods can cause serious health problems, even death, in dogs.

If you think your dog has ingested something toxic or potentially dangerous to their health, take them to the vet immediately.

To get our top stories delivered to your inbox, sign up for the newsletter

Advertisement