VIDEO: Sweetener in Chewing Gum Almost Kills Windsor Dog

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A Windsor family found out the hard way that a common sweetener found in some chewing gums can be even more dangerous than chocolate to your animal.

Arnie Charlton says his five-year-old cockapoo Lexi ate some gum that could have killed her. The family pet snatched up a chicklet of sugar free gum over the Canada Day weekend that Charlton's granddaughter Abby had dropped.

Xylitol was the first ingredient list and one that Charlton knows is deadly for dogs.

He tells CTV Windsor Lexi was treated at the 24 hour animal clinic on Lauzon Rd. where vets had to induce vomiting and she stayed in recovery for two days.

"Time was critical here. Without hesitation, I grabbed the packaging put Lexi on a leash and we were off to the vets," says Charlton. "Lexi didn't have a clue what was going on."

He is thankful for his granddaughter's quick action.

"I believe with Abby's reaction of telling me what she ate and getting her to the vet probably saved Lexi's life," says Charlton.

He didn't want to reveal the brand of chewing gum his dog ate, but says he has reached out to the company.

That's in the hope the company will make some changes to its packaging.

"Put some pressure on some of these manufacturers to put warnings for pet owners," says Charlton. "You know what you're giving your kid all the time; you should know what you're giving your pet."

Windsor-Essex County Humane Society executive director Melanie Coulter says pet owners should read labels and be aware before they give their pets any substance.

She says xylitol can even be found in some peanut butters — a popular method for tricking pets into taking medications.

"It's important to be aware of what you're giving your pet and if it's safe or not. Something like peanut butter seems like an innocent way to give medication, but if it's a peanut butter that contains this artificial sweetener, that could be fatal," says Coulter. "Read labels and just be aware before you give your pet a substance."

Charlton recommends you know where your vet is or where you can go 24/7 and always bring the packaging with you when you go to the vet.

He says, luckily, Lexi is on the road to recovery.

— with files from CTV Windsor's Chris Campbell.