Our hearts were shattered a week ago as we bid farewell to our adored Hungarian Vizsla, Ruby, who left us far too soon at the age of only seven. The loss of a beloved family dog is already an immense tragedy, but the weight of our sorrow is magnified by the painful realization that her precious life could have been spared had we been aware of the dangers of xylitol.
Ruby tragically passed away after consuming xylitol, a widely accepted sugar substitute harmless to humans but deadly for dogs. Surprisingly, even a small piece of chewing gum sweetened with xylitol (as is the case with many brands) can prove fatal for a dog weighing 8-10kg. Regrettably, most dog owners are unaware of this peril. Xylitol is frequently present in yogurts, peanut butter, takeaways, cakes, and various other food items, as manufacturers choose this healthier option over sugar.
Unfortunately, Ruby made the unfortunate decision to take two of my homemade brownies, something that had happened before without causing any harm. However, this time, I had unintentionally used xylitol in my baking. Regrettably, I was unaware of the urgency for immediate veterinary assistance, as time was of utmost importance and a thorough and invasive treatment could have potentially provided a small chance for a positive outcome.
Unfortunately, we didn’t take Ruby to the vet until 36 hours later, when she started vomiting heavily and collapsed. It was only when we brought her to the exceptional Royal Veterinary College Hospital that they brought up the term “xylitol.”
Ruby fought bravely for eight long days in intensive care, but sadly, she ultimately lost the battle against the illness. Our hearts are completely broken by this devastating loss. It’s difficult to imagine any positive outcome when we have lost a beloved pet who meant everything to our family. Ruby was truly irreplaceable, and the depth of our sadness and guilt is overwhelming.
If you have any doubts, do not hesitate to contact the Animal PoisonLine at 01202 509000. Surprisingly, I was not aware of this extremely useful service either. By paying a small fee of £30, they will evaluate the situation and offer you expert guidance on the necessary actions to take and the urgency required. This assistance could potentially save your beloved pet’s life. Do not hesitate to reach out to the PoisonLine whenever you have concerns about an animal ingesting something harmful.
Please help us raise awareness. It is crucial for all dog owners to be aware of this “new” toxin. Those who dispose of gum need to understand the danger they are exposing man’s best friend to. Veterinarians should include xylitol, along with warfarin, as a potential cause of poisoning in dogs displaying symptoms. Food producers must clearly and prominently label products containing xylitol as “harmful to dogs.”
The PoisonLine registers hundreds of deaths every year that are connected to xylitol, but they have concerns that the actual figure might be in the thousands. Please, ensure your dog doesn’t become another tragic case.