ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. -- A Virginia family is breathing a sigh of relief after their two-year-old lab ate more than two-dozen pieces of sugar-free chewing gum.
“Sookie” is a beloved member of the Dalton family, but last week they almost lost her.
Katherine Dalton said she received a call from her oldest son after he found the yellow lab unconscious.
The Albemarle County mother said she raced home immediately.
“She was completely non-responsive, drooling, eyes rolled back in her head... It looked really bad, it looked like she was not going to make it,” Katherine told Newsplex.
While Katherine’s husband rushed Sookie to the veterinarian, she went online to see if she could find out what happened to her.
"I Googled dogs and seizures, and the first thing that came up was toxicity," said Dalton.
Among the substances listed as toxic to dogs was sugar-free gum. That’s when she discovered a 40-piece container of Orbitz gum, completely empty and chewed.
The sugar-free gum contains the ingredient xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. Xylitol is a sugar substitute that is also found in candy, toothpaste and even sugar-free peanut butter.
"Her dose was so significant that she had a secondary problem caused by xylitol, which is acute liver failure," said veterinarian Brad DiCarlo.
Even though Sookie was near death upon arrival, the vets were able to raise her blood sugar and flush the toxin.
"She was a very lucky dog,” said DiCarlo. He said even with treatment, some dogs don’t survive the toxicant.
Katherine is now warning other families about the dangers of xylitol.
"It's amazing to see how many people aren't even aware that it's a problem," she said.