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STATES CHRONICLE – The artificial sweetener Xylitol, mostly found in chewing gum, sugarless candy, mouthwash, and toothpaste, has been found dangerous to dogs.
The FDA has just published a consumer update saying the consequence of your dog eating a pack of sugarless gum can be death.
Apparently sugarless gum can contain xylitol or sugar alcohol, an artificial sweetener safe for human digestion, but not for pets.
Martine Hartogensis, a veterinary doctor at the FDA, U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Center for Veterinary Medicine says they have received over the past years several reports of xylitol poisoned dogs – many of them related particularly to chewing gum.
Xylitol can also be found in chocolate bars, mints, cough syrup, chewable vitamins and much more products specifically because of its sugar-free, low calories properties.
Exactly how is this artificial sweetener harming our beloved pets? It turns out the release of insulin from the pancreas controls the levels of sugar in the blood, both in humans and dogs. For humans, xylitol doesn’t stimulate insulin release, but for dogs, it’s another story.
For dogs, the artificial sweetener Xylitol is rapidly absorbed, and this quick insulin release determines hypoglycemia – a low level of blood sugar. This condition may be life-threatening to canines and lead to death if not properly treated, says Hartogensis.
A xylitol poisoned dog might vomit and present weakness, incoordination, staggering or even collapse and seizures. It is advised to take immediately the animals showing these symptoms to the local vet or an emergency animal hospital.
The animal might need to be monitored because the effects in some cases may not occur for up to half a day or 24 hours.
Cases of cats being poisoned with xylitol have not yet been documented, but they might be out of danger giving their known disdain for the sugary stuff.
To prevent poisoning your dogs, the FDA advises keeping products containing xylitol as far as you can from your pet and “remember that some dogs are adept at counter surfing.”
Use toothpaste for pets, never human toothpaste and check the label of the nut butter or chewing gum for the xylitol ingredient.
Veterinarians have actually been trying to warn people of the artificial sweetener Xylitol poisonings even before this recent FDA release.
Image courtesy of Kyle Lam