Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Check Your Pantry: Artificial Sweetener Deadly to Dogs

If you buy products that don’t contain sugar, you should be aware of an artificial sweetener that’s extremely deadly to dogs.

A midwestern family is trying to spread the word about their 3-year-old dog who died after ingesting the artificial sweetener xylitol.

It’s not as common, fortunately, as substances like saccharin or aspartame. But there are certain products like peanut butter and chewing gum that rely on the product to provide a calorie-free sweetness.

In this case, the husky-mix ate sugar-free Mentos gum, which the family said lists xylitol as the first ingredient.

Banfield Pet Hospital explains that xylitol is not harmful to people, but can be deadly to dogs.

In as little as 30 minutes after consuming it, Xylitol can increase insulin, leading to hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. Warning signs to look for include weakness,lethargy, disorientation and seizures.

Dogs can also experience liver failure within 12 to 48 hours after consuming the artificial sweetener. Liver failure can happen even if the dog doesn’t suffer hypoglycemia. Additional symptoms include vomiting and bleeding disorders.

“Eventually death will occur if xylitol poisoning is left untreated,” the Banfield site states.

VCA says the product is used in a variety of products including sugar-free gum, candies, breath mints, baked goods, pudding snacks, cough syrup, children’s chewable or gummy vitamins and supplements, mouthwash, and toothpaste.

It’s also showing up in over-the-counter medications like nasal sprays, digestive aids, laxitives and allergy medications, among others.

Check your home for products that contain the artificial sweetener. If you suspect that your dog may have eaten a product that contains xylitol, time is of the essence.

Call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680 immediately.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.