A greedy five-month-old puppy almost died after ripping a hole in a shopping bag and wolfing down a near fatal amount of artifical sweetener.
Ginny the golden Labrador escaped potential brain damage or organ failure after raiding the family shopping when it was left on the counter top at the family home.
Owner Rachael Hymas found her beloved puppy throwing up and having fits beside an empty pouch of xylitol that she had bought from a health food shop.
On the way to the emergency pet clinic in Hemel Hempstead, Rachael and husband Pierre feared that their puppy had died.
Rachael said: “I saw that Ginny had been sick, but wasn’t too worried at first.
“Then she was sick again and not looking good. I then realised something was very wrong.”
She added: “I went to the lounge and saw the bag of xylitol on the floor.
“I knew it was toxic for dogs so I phoned our local vet straight away. But it was a Friday evening, and it had just closed.
“We decided to take Ginny to a vet a 20-minute drive away, but while we were on the phone she collapsed.”
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol used as a sweetener which is naturally found in low concentrations in the fibres of many fruits and vegetables.
A small number of people will suffer side effects from it, including flatulence, osmotic diarrhoea, and irritable bowel syndrome.
However it is largely healthy to human – but not necessarily to our pets.
Rachael, from Harpenden, said: “As we were driving there Ginny had another fit which was really violent, and we thought we’d lost her.”
Once at Vets Now in Midland Road, Hemel, staff rushed to save Ginny’s life as initial warnings showed that the xylitol might cause irreparable damage.
Overnight Ginny was placed on a drip and given glucose, and the next day she regained consciousness and was able to walk a little.
Rachael said: “The vets said it’s because she’s so young that Ginny bounced back so well.”