A Dog died tragically after eating a homemade cake - now her owner warns against the toxic ingredient
The only thing that's worse than losing a pet is knowing you could have prevented it.
And that's exactly what happened to Kate Chacksfield.
Although she was sad and broken, she had to say goodbye to her dog Ruby - all this while she knew her best friend shouldn't have died.
Now she uses her story to warn other dog owners in the hope that what happened to her will not happen to anyone else.
Anyone who has a dog knows that his furry friend likes to eat, no matter what it is or where it is.
Most dog owners know that chocolate is very toxic for dogs, but what about cakes and pastries?
Well, they can be deadly too - something Kate Chacksfield of London is now aware of with pain.
Her dog, Ruby, died after eating a homemade cake that contained the sweetener Xylitol.
Like most dogs, Ruby couldn't resist the delicious pastries her owner had baked.
The dog had eaten brownies in the past, and they didn't make her sick. Although chocolate is considered toxic to dogs, the dog has been able to avoid the harmful effects.
Despite the small amount of brownies she ate, Ruby, the Hungarian Vizsla, was in good health.
But on that tragic day, Ruby ate two whole brownies, and the xylitol content made her sick within 36 hours.
Xylitol is usually used as a sweetener in chewing gum and gum balls, and isn't dangerous to humans.
But the substance is very dangerous to dogs because their bodies don't have the ability to digest it. This, along with other factors, leads to hypoglycemia which can have fatal consequences.
If Kate was aware of the potential danger of Xylitol, she would take the dog to the veterinarian immediately, and this might have saved her life.
Xylitol is usually found in low-calorie products. Kate, who was suffering from weight problems, replaced the sugar in the brownie's recipe and used Xylitol instead.
If she knew it was a very toxic ingredient for dogs, she wouldn't have to say goodbye to her beloved dog, because she would be take extreme care.
Dogs who consume Xylitol, may show some symptoms.
Warning signs usually appear within an hour, but it can sometimes take longer, depending on the dog's type and the amount of Xylitol they consume. Once Kate realized that her dog was sick, she took her to the vet. Unfortunately, it was already too late.
The damage was done, and Ruby's condition deteriorated very quickly.
For eight days Ruby fought and struggled with the symptoms. All Kate could do was stand by and look at her, but she was left with a broken and sad heart and a large bill for the vet.
"I had no idea that natural sweeteners can be so dangerous to dogs, the pictures of her attached to a respirator make me cry", Kate said.
Now Kate wants to raise awareness about the dangers of Xylitol for dogs. In sugar-free sweets, the contents of Xylitol can be high. Your dog can get poisoning from 2 small pieces of gum.
Symptoms are usually vomiting, tremors and heaviness, exhaustion, and in more severe cases convulsions and loss of consciousness.
If Kate knew then what she knows today, she wouldn't hesitate for a second and immediately take Ruby to the veterinarian. Unfortunately, she didn't make the connection between the brownies' cookies that disappeared and Ruby's symptoms.
"I made brownies with Xylitol just to reduce the amount of sugar I eat", she said.
But of course if you don't know what makes your dog sick, then it makes it difficult for the veterinarian to give proper treatment.
It's a known fact that dogs love to eat, and they will eat almost any type of food they can reach.
"We thought she might have eaten something in the dog garden in the morning or something - it never occurred to me to think of the brownies", she said.
Kate showed great strength and character in turning a personal tragedy to an important lesson for dog owners. She hopes to spread her story to as many people as possible, hoping that it will help save many dogs in the future.
It hurts to lose a pet. With some dogs that are cute and kind, they can't resist food with a good smell - they simply follow their instincts.
If you own a dog, it's good and important to learn and know what can be toxic to your dog. You can even keep a list on the refrigerator.
"All you need is a quarter teaspoon of the sweetener to hurt your dog", Kate said.
The deadly ingredient is found in many sugar-free products, such as chewing gum, candy and also certain types of peanut butter. Always read the label and make sure the product doesn't contain ingredients that could harm your dog.
If you are unsure or fear that your dog has eaten something that may be toxic, don't hesitate. Take them immediately to the vet. It's always better to be safe than to regret afterwards.
We want to express our condolences to Kate - a tragedy that shouldn't have happened.
The least we can do in memory of sweet Ruby is to share the information with all the dog lovers we know. Let's make sure everyone understands the risks. no dog should ever get hurt again.