One of the few ways that losing a pet can be worsened is learning that it was completely avoidable.

Kate Chacksfield knows this feeling all too well after losing her dog Ruby to the xylitol, a sugar substitute, baked into some brownies she had made.

Ruby was fond of brownies and she seemed un-phased by the reduced amounts of theobromine, the chemical compound within chocolate that is fatal to pets, within said brownies.

The moment that things changed was when Ruby had sneakily devoured two entire brownies and became sick from the xylitol over the course of 36 hours.

Has Chacksfield known of xylitol’s potential harm, she would have taken Ruby the vet a lot sooner.

Xylitol is an alcohol-based substitute for sugar that is commonly used by diabetics and dieters.

Chacksfield had been trying to lose weight and felt it was a suitable replacement for white sugar.

When a dog ingests xylitol, it can succumb to lowered blood sugar, seizures, failing liver and even fatality.

Chacksfield had not taken Ruby to the vet until eight days after the incident, when there were obvious tells that the dog was not doing well.

Chackfield’s ignorance came to a head with a $13,000 bill and the loss of her beloved dog.

Veterinarians caution that not knowing what can make a pet sick makes it harder for them to determine how to treat an ailment or illness.

As dogs have a reputation for eating things they really shouldn’t, Chacksfield believed that this habit, rather than her sugar-free brownies, was the cause.

While Chacksfield is seeking to turn her tragedy into an opportunity to inform others of what can hurt or kill their pets, it is a good idea for pet owners to keep a list of harmful substances handy in case they need to have someone else care for their pets.

It takes just one-quarter of a teaspoon of xylitol to harm a dog.

Xylitol is a common to many products that are marketed as sugar-free.

While it might make sense that substances with starkly chemical names, like theobromine and xylitol, are harmful to animals, there are many natural foods that are just as bad for dogs.

The owners of canines are cautioned to avoid giving their pets garlic, grapes, macadamia nuts, onion, raw meat, raw eggs, or raisins-each of these items are toxic to dogs and can reach fatal levels of toxicity.