Our dogs are family, which is why it is so tragic to read a story like this, even if you don’t know the people involved.

A woman named Kate Chacksfield is trying to warn other pet owners out there that the sweetener xylitol can be fatal to pets. She found out in the worst possible way – her beloved dog Ruby passed away after eating brownies that contained xylitol.

Chacksfield said that Ruby had gotten into brownies before and the chocolate did not make the dog sick. But when Ruby ate two brownies containing xylitol she was extremely sick within 36 hours. Chacksfield said she would have taken Ruby to the vet much sooner if she knew xylitol was harmful to dogs.

Xylitol is a sugar substitute that people use to try to lose weight. Chacksfield used it in her brownies because it has much fewer calories than sugar. She had no idea that xylitol can cause liver failure, seizures, and in some cases death for dogs that consume it.

After Chacksfield rushed Ruby to the vet, the poor dog’s condition quickly worsened. Eight days later, Ruby died. Chacksfield said, “I had no idea how serious eating natural sweeteners was for dogs, the photos of her on life support still make me cry.”

All you dog owners out there, take note. Keep xylitol and other harmful things away from your pets at all times. And if you notice something is wrong, take them to the vet immediately instead of waiting around a day or two to see if they improve.