Heartbreak as dog dies after eating chewing gum with artificial sweetener

Amelia with Winston
Four-year-old Amelia keeps asking why her ‘brother’ went to ‘heaven’ (Picture: Deadline News)

A family has opened up about the horror of losing their dog after he ate a chewing gum containing an artificial sweetener.

Kirsty, 31, and Dave Lanyon, 36, said their three-year-old dog Winston ate a piece of gum that had not been put in the bin, which contained the sweetener xylitol. The golden retriever and German shepherd cross continued behaving normally and went on to chase a football around a playpark.

But after returning home 30 minutes later he became lethargic, started vomiting and died a few days later.

Winston, Amelia and dad Dave
Dad Dave and Amelia walking Winston before he was killed by a chewing gum (Picture: Deadline News)
An emergency vet confirmed Winston had xylitol poisoning and put him on a glucose drip because he could no longer manage his blood sugar levels.

After two days, Winston was taken off the treatment but was still unable to manage the amount of sugar in his body.

With a heavy heart, it was agreed there was no alternative but to put down.

Kirsty and Dave, along with their four-year-old daughter Amelia, from Littleborough, Greater Manchester, were devastated by his death.

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As her daughter keeps asking why Winston had to go to ‘heaven’, Kirsty is now trying to spread awareness of the dangers of Xylitol, and posted about the death on Facebook.

She wrote: ‘All dog owners need to be aware of the dangers of xylitol and how it’s in so many items just lying about your houses.

‘Those brownies/cupcakes you made from a packet mix? Full of it.

‘That pizza you got from the takeaway? Full of it. Your toothpaste, pasta, peanut butter, anything that says sugar free, it’s probably in there too. But it won’t be labelled xylitol, it’s labelled “sugar alcohol”.’

Referring to Amelia, she added: ‘His 4-year-old sister doesn’t quite understand, hearing her ask over and over why Winston had to go heaven is horrendous in ways you couldn’t imagine.

‘In memory of our beloved Winston, check your cupboards, check everything you give your dog. And keep as close an eye on them as possible when out walking.

Dog killed by chewing gum Picture: NO CREDIT METROGRAB
Owner Kirsty put out a post to raise awareness about the danger of the sweetener

‘We’d never heard of it, so when our boy started vomiting and then collapsed within 30 mins of getting home from his last ever walk, our last ever walk as a family of 4, we were clueless.

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‘If that happens get them to an emergency vet as soon as possible as even then, like for Winston and us, it may already be too late.’

Speaking on Wednesday, Kirsty said: ‘Words actually can’t describe what it’s been like to lose him. But if we can raise awareness of the dangers of xylitol, it’s a small consolation.’ An RSPCA spokeswoman said: ‘This sounds like a tragic incident and our thoughts go out to Winston’s owner, if you suspect your dog may have been poisoned please ring your vet straight away.’

Xylitol is a low calorie sweetener and it is used as an alternative to sugar. It is also known as E967 and can be commonly used in baking. It is also regularly found in sugar-free chewing gum, toothpaste, mouthwash, vitamin supplements and in a small handful of peanut butter brands.

A dog’s pancreas will confuse Xylitol with real sugar and it will release more insulin, which removes the real sugar in a dog’s body, causing hypoglycemia.

Symptoms can be rapid or delayed for up to 12 hours so do not wait for symptoms to appear before going to the vet.

A Wagging Tail Does Not Always Equal a Happy Dog. Don’t approach a strange dog just because it’s wagging it’s tail. Tail wagging isn’t always the universal sign of happiness – it can also indicate fear or insecurity. Be sure to teach your children about the basics of dog bite prevention.