A distraught dog owner has released images of her beloved pet on life support after it ate chocolate brownies and died. Picture: Facebook

London - A distraught dog owner has released images of her beloved pet on life support after it ate chocolate brownies and died.

But it was not the chocolate that killed Ruby, a seven-year-old Hungarian vizsla. The lethal ingredient was Xylitol, a widely used natural sweetener which can cause liver failure in dogs.

Her owner, Kate Chacksfield, 51, had used it in a batch of brownies to reduce her own sugar intake. Ruby managed to steal two of the brownies and died on October 19 last year, despite her owners spending £10 000 (about R178 000) on vets’ fees.

Chacksfield, of Acton, west London, said Ruby became ill 36 hours after eating the brownies. She died at the Royal Veterinary College in London eight days later.

Chocolate in large quantities is dangerous to dogs but it was only after Riby’s death that vets asked if she had eaten Xylitol. Chacksfield said: "I had absolutely no idea [it] was harmful. I urge other dog owners to read up on the dangers. The photos of Ruby on life support still make me cry."

Chocolate – contains the stimulant theobromine which can cause seizures, heart attacks and death.

Grapes, raisins, sultanas, currants – any quantity can be toxic and result in kidney failure days after ingestion.

Macadamia nuts – lead to neurological abnormalities, fever and weakness.

Onions and garlic – can result in burst blood vessels and anaemia.

Fatty foods – can trigger inflammation of the pancreas, which can be fatal.

Daily Mail