Family warns owners after dog dies from ingesting artificial sweetener found in gum

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ASHLAND CITY, Tenn. -- A Nashville-area family is warning dog owners to keep their pets away from an artificial sweetener after the recent loss of their three-year-old husky mix, WZTV reports.

Christy Figlio says her dog, Canon, seemed perfectly healthy. Last Saturday, however, he suddenly stopped eating and started drinking a lot of water.

"He started vomiting the water and so that kind of was the red flag that made us decide to take him to the hospital. They gave us some IV fluids, sent us home with a bunch of antibiotics, and told us if he got worse take him on to Nashville's Pet ER," Figlio said.

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Shortly after they got home, things took a turn for the worse. Figlio says Canon dropped to the floor and started shaking.

The family rushed the dog to the emergency vet who told them Canon's liver was failing because of Xylitol, an artificial sweetener which can be found in some sugar-free chewing gum, mints or other candies.

Veterinarian Eva Evans says Xylitol is extremely deadly to dogs.

"The first signs you're gonna see usually are weakness, muscle tremors, inability to stand, and that progresses to seizures as their blood sugar keeps dropping lower and lower," Dr. Eva Evans explained.

Dr. Evans says if a dog eats the artificial sweetener, it's a race against time to get them to the vet. The longer you wait, the more damage it does to the liver.

For three-year-old Canon, the Xylitol had done too much damage. After hours of treatment with his health only worse, his owners had to let him go.

"I could just tell. I knew we weren't gonna be bringing him home," Figlio said.

Now, she wants others to be aware of what's in their homes so no one else has to go through what they did.