There’s honestly nothing quite like losing your family pet. While we’d all prefer their passing to happen calmly and kindly, sometimes our beloved pets die in such an unwanted, accidental way that we’re left a bit more crushed.
For example, Ruby, a Hungarian Vizsla and precious family dog, died when she was only seven years old. The most tragic thing about this entire story, however, is that it could have been entirely avoidable had Ruby’s owners understood the terrible capabilities of xylitol. Since they had no idea before Ruby’s passing, they are now left to spread the news about this dangerous sugar replacement. (1)
What Is Xylitol And Why Is It Dangerous For Pets?
Now, it’s important to note that xylitol is a perfectly fine sugar substitute for humans to use in their foods. It’s becoming increasingly popular due to people’s lack of interest in consuming actual sugar. Ruby, however, died after eating xylitol.
You see, a single piece of chewing gum that has been sweetened with xylitol contains enough of this dangerous sugar substitute to kill an 8-10kg adult dog. While there certainly are brands of gum out there that haven’t been sweetened with xylitol, if you start looking at gum ingredients, you’ll find that a huge majority of them are! (1)
Xylitol causes no known harm to human beings, but it is absolutely lethal to dogs. The scary thing about this fact, however, is that most pet owners have no idea! Many people are unaware that xylitol can be found in many yogurts, peanut butters, cakes, and a great deal of other products created by food manufacturers looking to improve their products and provide healthier alternatives by replacing their sugar with xylitol. All people are truly aware of is that these products are “healthier” and “sugar-free,” not that their dog could die if they happened to steal a few brownies from the counter. (1)
How Did Ruby Die Of Xylitol?
This is exactly what poor Ruby did. This mischievous thievery was nothing different from the norm, as she’d stolen foods before from sealed boxes without enduring any adverse effects. This time, however, Ruby’s owner had cooked the brownies with xylitol, having no idea whatsoever that after Ruby ate them, she should be rushed to the vet in order to begin an invasive, intensive treatment to attempt to save Ruby’s life. Due to the lack of knowledge and awareness, Ruby vomited terribly, collapsed 36 hours later, and was only then rushed to the vet. (1)
It wasn’t until Ruby was transferred to Royal Veterinary College Hospital that the facts about xylitol were even mentioned. It had been eight days of critical illness in intensive care before Ruby died, leaving Ruby’s owners in a terrible state of sadness and guilt. If they’d only known about the dangers of xylitol beforehand, then they might have been able to save their beloved Ruby from dying, or even been more aware of the importance of preventing her from eating products containing xylitol. (1)
If you are a pet owner or animal lover, then do yourself and animals everywhere a favor and learn as much as you can about xylitol. Look for it in ingredients lists and pay attention to what your dog can steal from counters, cupboards and the floor where food might be dropped. If you feed your dog peanut butter or any other types of “human” foods, be absolutely certain to check the ingredients to ensure it is safe for their consumption. This includes leftovers from restaurants, foods with any sweetness to it, dairy products and more. If you’re ever unsure, don’t hesitate to call the Animal Poison Line, at 01202 509000. You just might save your pet’s life. (1, 2)