There is a new dangerous ingredient in town that is approximately 100 times more toxic to dogs than chocolate, even though it is of no danger to humans.
If you buy chewing gum and it is labeled sugar-free, make sure you keep that pack out of reach of your dog. The sweetener in sugar-free items, called xylitol, is extremely toxic to your pets. You can also find xylitol in other products such as peanut butter, toothpaste and mints.
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In 2015 there have already been over 2,800 calls to the Pet Poison Helpline due to cases of dogs ingesting xylitol. This number is up from 300 calls in 2009.
The Wall Street Journal reports that xylitol causes a sudden release of insulin in dogs which then causes low blood sugar. This can lead to liver failure and even death.
Dr. Ashley Gallagher with the Friendship Hospital for Animals in Washington D.C. explains that until the products are labeled unsafe for animals, owners must be extremely vigilant concerning their dogs around these products.
“You just have to be really careful because dogs are nosy little creatures and they are hungry all the time. I know my dogs are, and they are just looking for a treat. So you have to really watch them,” Gallagher tells CBS News.
Dr. Tina Wismer, medical director of the Animal Poison Control Center at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, tells the WSJ that if you find that your dog has ingested xylitol and you get them to the vet as soon as possible, they “tend to do quite well.”
Make sure to keep all items with xylitol on the top shelf and far away from your four-legged friends. You can even take another step and not purchase any items that include this sweetener.