Virginia woman warns pet owners after dog nearly killed by sugar-free gum

ALBEMARLE COUNTY, VA (WTVR) -- A Virginia family is breathing a sigh of relief after their two-year-old lab ate more than two-dozen pieces of sugar-free chewing gum.

"Sookie" is a beloved member of the Dalton family, but last week they almost lost her.

Katherine Dalton said she received a call from her oldest son after he found the yellow lab unconscious.

The Albemarle County mother said she raced home immediately.

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Soldiers and their military working dogs
An American soldier pets 5-year-old Eggy, an explosives sniffing dog in Seprwan Ghar forward fire base Panjwai district of Kandahar province June 26, 2011. The pair of handler and dog work in the Panjwai district of southern Kandahar province, long a Taliban stronghold. Both animals and handlers face the same dangers as the soldiers they work to protect. Picture taken June 26, 2011. REUTERS/Baz Ratner (AFGHANISTAN - Tags: CONFLICT MILITARY ANIMALS)
Croatian Dog handler Sinisa Erkman plays with 5-year-old Eggy, an explosives sniffing dog in Seprwan Ghar forward fire base Panjwai district of Kandahar province, June 26, 2011. The pair work in the Panjwai district of southern Kandahar province, long a Taliban stronghold. Both animals and handlers face the same dangers as the soldiers they work to protect. Picture taken June 26, 2011. REUTERS/Baz Ratner (AFGHANISTAN - Tags: CONFLICT MILITARY ANIMALS)
A veteran embraces his service dog during Remembrance Day ceremonies at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, November 11, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Wattie
Croatian Dog handler Sinisa Erkman plays with 5-year-old Eggy, an explosives sniffing dog in Seprwan Ghar forward fire base Panjwai district of Kandahar province, June 26, 2011. The pair work in the Panjwai district of southern Kandahar province, long a Taliban stronghold. Both animals and handlers face the same dangers as the soldiers they work to protect. Picture taken June 26, 2011. REUTERS/Baz Ratner (AFGHANISTAN - Tags: CONFLICT MILITARY ANIMALS)
A U.S. Army soldier with the 10th Special Forces Group and his military working dog jump off the ramp of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter from the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment during water training over the Gulf of Mexico as part of exercise Emerald Warrior 2011 in this U.S. military handout image from March 1, 2011. The New York Times and other United States media have reported that a military canine accompanied Navy SEAL Team Six commandos into a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan in a raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. REUTERS/Manuel J. Martinez/U.S. Air Force/Handout (UNITED STATES - Tags: ANIMALS MILITARY CONFLICT CIVIL UNREST) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
This photograph taken August 15, 2011 shows US Army Specialist Justin Coletti of US Forces Afghanistan K-9 combat tracker team resting with Dasty, a Belgian Malinois at an airfield of Forward Operating Base Pasab following a five-hour overnight air assault mission with Bravo Company, 2-87 Infantry Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team in Maiwand district, Kandahar province. Dasty who has a rank of a Sergeant, is a military working dog trained to patrol and locate a target individual and is currently deployed in southern Afghanistan saving lives of coalition forces in its war against Taliban insurgents. AFP PHOTO / ROMEO GACAD (Photo credit should read ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images)
BALA MURGHAB, BADGHIS PROVINCE - JUNE 29: Sgt John Barton of the 4th Brigade of the US Army's 82nd Airborne Division pets his platoon's pet dog Ray-Ray as he awakens from sleeping outside at combat outpost Impala June 29, 2010 in Bala Murghab, Afghanistan. Many US troops in Afghanistan sleep in the outdoors in the summer due to the stifling overnight heat. The 82nd Airborne along with NATO Italian troops have been working for nearly a year in this combative zone in the far northwest of the country near the Turkmenistan border, attempting to pacify and extend the Afghanistan central government rule to this rural and fiercely independent area rife with Taliban insurgents. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
BALA MURGHAB, BADGHIS PROVINCE - JUNE 29: Sgt. John Barton of the 4th Brigade of the US Army's 82nd Airborne Division pets his platoon's pet dog Ray-Ray as he awakens from sleeping outside at combat outpost Impala June 29, 2010 in Bala Murghab, Afghanistan. Many US troops in Afghanistan sleep in the outdoors in the summer due to the stifling overnight heat. The 82nd Airborne along with NATO Italian troops have been working for nearly a year in this combative zone in the far northwest of the country near the Turkmenistan border, attempting to pacify and extend the Afghanistan central government rule to this rural and fiercely independent area rife with Taliban insurgents. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)
400553 04: Lance Cpl. Joshua A. Moose and his military working dog Hertha, show the strong bond between them during a break in training February 1, 2002 at the Marine Depot in San Diego, California. (Photo by Christopher A. Raper/U.S. Marine Corp./Getty Images)
A Colombian Army Special Forces soldier rappels with a dog during a military exercise during the visit of US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Colombian Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon at a military base in Tolemaida, Colombia, on October 10, 2014. AFP PHOTO/Guillermo LEGARIA (Photo credit should read GUILLERMO LEGARIA/AFP/Getty Images)
KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN - AUGUST 3: Lance Corporal Marianne Hay, 24 from Aberdeenshire, a soldier in the Royal Army Veterinary Corp and her arms and explosives dog Leanna attached to the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment rest as they wait to leave for strike operation Southern Beast on August 3, 2008 at their base at the Kandahar Air Field (KAF) in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The British Army soldiers from the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment spearheaded a strike operation in the Maywand District of the Kandahar Province, setting the conditions for a permanent ISAF presence to support the Afghan National Government in their fight against the Taliban. Striking within one of Afghanistan's major opium producing areas the Paratroopers were looking for weapons, drugs, and individuals related to the Taliban. During the operation about seventy kilograms of opium was seized and some weapons were recovered. (Photo by Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images)
NANJING, CHINA - JANUARY 28: (CHINA OUT) A police dog and its trainer practise skipping at a police dog training base on January 28, 2006, in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, China. 2006 is the Chinese year of dog (Photo by VCG via Getty Images)
Soldiers of Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) salute as they perform with their dogs before a dog training competition, in Heihe, Heilongjiang province, August 16, 2016. Picture taken August 16, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. CHINA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN CHINA.
An Israeli soldier kisses a dog at a staging area near the border with Gaza August 3, 2014. Israel on Sunday declared dead soldier Hadar Goldin, feared abducted by Hamas Islamist militants in the Gaza Strip and said it would continue to fight even after the army completes destroying cross-border tunnels used by Palestinian fighters to attack its territory. Hamas' armed wing said on Saturday it had no clear indication on Goldin's whereabouts and that he may have been killed during an ambush in the southern Gaza Strip in which two other Israeli soldiers were killed. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola (ISRAEL - Tags: CIVIL UNREST MILITARY CONFLICT ANIMALS)
A U.S. soldier gives his guard dog water at the Kandahar Air Base, December 8, 2013. U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel traveled to the base to thank the troops for their dedication and for being deployed during the holiday season. REUTERS/Mark Wilson/Pool (AFGHANISTAN - Tags: MILITARY ANIMALS)
Military working dog Quin the seven-year-old cocker spaniel sneaks a cheeky kiss from his handler Lance Corporal Stu Downer, 1 Military Working Dogs, 30, from Kent as he takes a break from training on Salisbury Plain as 7th Armoured Brigade prepare to deploy to Afghanistan on Operation Herrick 19.
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"She was completely non-responsive, drooling, eyes rolled back in her head... It looked really bad, it looked like she was not going to make it," Katherine told Newsplex.

While Katherine's husband rushed Sookie to the veterinarian, she went online to see if she could find out what happened to her.

"I Googled dogs and seizures, and the first thing that came up was toxicity," said Dalton.

Among the substances listed as toxic to dogs was sugar-free gum. That's when she discovered a 40-piece container of Orbitz gum, completely empty and chewed.

The sugar-free gum contains the ingredient xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. Xylitol is a sugar substitute that is also found in candy, toothpaste and even sugar-free peanut butter.

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"Her dose was so significant that she had a secondary problem caused by xylitol, which is acute liver failure," said veterinarian Brad DiCarlo.

Even though Sookie was near death upon arrival, the vets were able to raise her blood sugar and flush the toxin.

"She was a very lucky dog," said DiCarlo. He said even with treatment, some dogs don't survive the toxicant.

Katherine is now warning other families about the dangers of xylitol.

"It's amazing to see how many people aren't even aware that it's a problem," she said.

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