Ruby’s heartbreaking final hours: Owner releases snaps of Hungarian Vizla who died five days after eating chocolate brownies containing sweetener that’s deadly to dogs
- Ruby the Hungarian Vizsla ate brownies containing natural sweetener Xylitol
- Her owner Kate Chacksfield, 51, made them with sweetener to reduce sugar
- Media coach from west London spent £10,000 trying to save her Ruby died
Lara Keay For Mailonline
A dog owner has been left devastated after her beloved pooch died from eating chocolate brownies.
Ruby the Hungarian Vizsla stole two brownies her owner Kate Chacksfield made with a natural sweetener called Xylitol.
Three days later she started being violently sick and was rushed to the vets where she was diagnosed with liver failure and put on life support.
She died eight days after falling ill at the age of seven, despite Ms Chacksfield, of Acton, west London, spending £10,000 on treatment in a bid to save her.
It was only after Ruby’s death that the 51-year-old realised the sweetener had made her ill – after vets pointed out it is toxic to dogs.
Ruby the Hungarian Vizsla stole two brownies her owner Kate Chacksfield made with a natural sweetener called Xylitol. Three days later she fell ill and was rushed to the vets where she was put on life support (pictured). She died five days later
It was only after Ruby’s death that 51-year-old Kate Chacksfield (pictured with her pet) realised the sweetener had made her ill – after vets pointed out it is toxic to dogs
Ms Chacksfield now wants to warn other dog owners of the deadly consequences of natural sweeteners.
She said: ‘I only made brownies with Xylitol in to reduce the amount of sugar I was eating.
Ms Chacksfield now wants to warn other dog owners of the deadly consequences of natural sweeteners. Her beloved dog Ruby is pictured ill in hospital before her death
‘But while I was out, Ruby managed to get into the container off the side in the kitchen and eaten a couple.
‘She seemed fine at first and it wasn’t until a couple of days later she began being violently ill and I took her to the vets.
‘I had no idea how serious eating natural sweeteners was for dogs, the photos of her on life support still make me cry.
‘We’ve had her since she was a puppy and I’m completely lost without her.’
Ms Chacksfield claims Ruby had stolen the chocolate brownies in the past and that vets had told her small amounts of chocolate aren’t too harmful to dogs her size.
So she thought nothing of her nabbing the brownies until she fell ill.
She continued: ‘Ruby began being violently sick so I rushed her to the vets so sent her home after checking her over.
‘But soon after she collapsed and we took her back as soon as possible – it was then they started treating her for rat poison because of her symptoms.
Ruby (pictured) died at the age of seven, despite Ms Chacksfield, of Acton, west London, spending £10,000 on treatment in a bid to save her
‘We just thought she may have eaten some by mistake in the park or something – it never crossed my mind to mention the brownies.’
As Ruby’s condition began to deteriorate, she was taken to The Royal Veterinary College, London, but sadly died eight days later of liver failure and a suspected stroke.
What is Xylitol?
Xylitol is a naturally-occurring sweetener found in most plants and particularly fruit and vegetables.
It is a sugar alcohol and is used as a sugar replacement, as it is sweet but causes less tooth decay.
Xylitol is also used as a medicine to prevent conditions like ear and nose infections, as well as being offered as a sugar substitute for diabetes patients.
It is often found in chewing gum and other oral products, alongside claims it reduces tooth decay and dry mouth.
It can be deadly to dogs. If consumed in amounts greater than 100mg per kilogram of body weight it can cause dangerously low blood sugar, liver failure, seizures and strokes.
These side effects can occur as little as 30 minutes after consumption.
It is not toxic to humans but in large quantities can cause gastro-related discomfort.
She said: ‘I had absolutely no idea Xylitol was harmful to dogs what so ever and I was heartbroken when they told me and I knew it was too late for Ruby.
‘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.’
Xylitol sweetener can be found in many products such as sugar free sweets and gum, some baking mixes, peanut butters and chocolate.
Ms Chacksfield says it takes just a quarter of a teaspoon to cause liver failure in dogs the size of a Labrador, and even less in smaller breeds.
She added: ‘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.
‘It takes just a quarter of a teaspoon of sweetener to harm a dog. If anyone has any concerns they can the Animal PoisonLine for advice.’
Ms Chacksfield and Ruby are pictured together outside the London animal hospital where she died
What foods are poisonous to dogs?
The onion family, whether dry, raw or cooked, is particularly toxic to dogs and can cause gastrointestinal irritation and red blood cell damage. Signs of illness are not always immediate and can occur up to a few days later.
However enticing chocolate is for humans and dogs alike, chocolate is a poisonous food for dogs.
Chocolate contains a stimulant called theobromine (dark chocolate has the highest content of this) which is toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure.
Macadamia nuts contain a toxin that can affect your dog’s muscles and nervous system resulting in weakness, swollen limbs and panting.
Corn on the cob could potentially be fatal if eaten by your dog. Although the corn is digested by dogs, the cob can cause a blockage in your dog’s intestine.
Avocados are another poisonous food for dogs. Avocado plants contain a substance called Persin which is in its leaves, fruit and seed and can cause vomiting and diarrhoea in dogs.
Our desire for sweet treats, chewing gum and drinks together with low-fat, diet and sugar-free products (including some peanut butters so always check the label before using this as a treat) are often laced with an artificial sweetener called Xylitol which causes an insulin release in our bodies.
However, if your dog digests one of these sweetened foods they can go into hypoglycaemia which is linked to liver failure and blood clotting disorders.
Alcohol has a huge impact on dogs even in small doses. The drink not only causes intoxication as it does in humans, but it can lead to sickness, diarrhoea and even central nervous system damage.
Cooked meat bones
Giving your dog a raw uncooked bone to chew on is great, but avoid cooked bones at all cost.
These can easily splinter and in large quantities cause constipation or at worst, a perforation of the gut which can be fatal.
Raisins are in many of the foods that we love to eat such as cakes, biscuits and cereals so it’s not just the fruit form we should be concerned with.
The active ingredient which causes the toxin is unknown, however both grapes and raisins may cause severe liver damage and kidney failure.
What should you do if your dog has consumed something poisonous?
If consumed, even small amounts of these items can be fatal so always act immediately and take your dog to the vets.
Source: Battersea Cats and Dogs Home