Dogs are constantly sniffing out things to eat. They have a knack for finding food lying on the ground or tucked away in pockets and drawers. Unfortunately, for one Wisconsin family, their dog’s curiosity ended up having dire consequences after she ate something they had no idea could kill her.
While the family was out of the home, Luna a beautiful 2-year-old Golden Retriever, chewed open a container of Ice Breakers lemon-flavored chewing gum. Gum would not normally cause any problems if eaten by a dog, but this gum contained Xylitol, the chemical sweetener used in sugar-free foods and which is highly toxic to dogs.
After eating some of the sticks inside, Luna got very sick, and by the time the family rushed her to the vets she was already suffering from severe liver damage. The vets told the family the terrible news and they had to make a choice no pet parent ever wants to make. “We just didn’t want her to suffer so we had to put her down,” sobbed Samantha Caress.
She, her boyfriend Jordan Pellett and their 7-month-old son are devastated by the outcome.
“She was like our first child. She was like our family before we even had Grady,” Caress told KARE News.
Like Luna’s family, many pet owners are unaware how toxic Xylitol is for dogs. Just a small amount of the ingredient can cause severe hypoglycemia, which can cause a life-threatening drop in blood sugar and liver failure.
As few as 2 pieces of gum can cause hypoglycemia in a 20 pound (9 kg) dog. A pack of gum can cause liver damage. Signs of toxicity can occur within 30 to 60 minutes and include symptoms such as vomiting, lethargy, weakness, drunken gait, collapse and seizures.
Xylitol isn’t only in sugarless gum either. It is a popular ingredient in oral hygiene products like toothpaste, mouth wash and dental floss. It’s even included in some dog cavity prevention products (but only in trace amounts that the manufacturers say are not harmful to dogs).
It’s also found in sugar-free vitamins and sugar-free foods (including baked goods, chocolate, etc.) If you do have products with Xylitol in the house, vets recommend keeping them out of reach of your dog. It’s also useful to brush up on your knowledge of what other foods are toxic for dogs so as to prevent similar accidents.
This is such important information to share. Please remember to share it with your friends and help prevent other families from going through what Luna’s family went through!