Gum sweetener can be fatal to dogs, experts say

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Sugar-free is generally good for humans. But one sugar substitute can be deadly for dogs.

Xylitol, a sugar substitute increasingly used by food manufacturers, can cause liver failure in dogs, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“Certain toothpastes, for example, and chewing gum is a main one, and it's now starting to be seen in peanut butters,” said Dr. Leyenda Harley of the Central Hospital for Veterinary Medicine in North Haven.

Even though it has been deemed safe for humans, Xylitol is extremely harmful to dogs—roughly 100 times as toxic as milk chocolate, a more widely known hazard, experts said. The sweetener is causing a surge in accidental dog poisonings, some fatal, according to animal poison-control centers, which say it has become one of the most dangerous food-related poisons for staff deals with.

“What the Xylitol does is cause low blood sugar,” said Dr. Harley. “And, in higher doses, it can lead to liver failure. And then that liver failure can be fatal.”

Liver failure can occur within two to three days, if not addressed. If your dog becomes wobbly or unusually lethargic, get it to a veterinarian.

Last year, almost 4,000 cases of Xylitol poisoning of dogs were reported nationally.

“Since 2007, the ASPCA, the animal poison control has reported a doubling of cases,” said Dr. Harley. Harley says she believes that’s “because it's showing up in more human products and it is considered very safe for people. In fact, good for people. “

Last year, almost 4,000 cases of Xylitol poisoning of dogs were reported nationally.

Pet owners are calling for warning labels on products containing the sweetener, and an Oregon pet-safety group is organizing online petitions seeking such a move.

Some pet-poisoning experts think that isn’t realistic, and said educating dog owners is the best way to tackle the issue.

You can read more here.