Your six-month-old puppy, Hoover, will eat anything that isn’t tied down. Like many dog owners, you know chocolate can be dangerous to your pooch. But you may not know that if Hoover sticks his nose in your handbag and eats a pack of sugarless chewing gum, the consequences could be deadly.
Sugarless gum may contain xylitol, a class of sweetener known as sugar alcohol. Xylitol is present in many products and foods for human use, but can have devastating effects on your pet.
If you think your dog may have eaten a product containing xylitol, call your vet, emergency clinic, or animal poison control center right away.
Over the past several years, the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received several reports—many of which pertained to chewing gum—of dogs being poisoned by xylitol, according to Martine Hartogensis, a veterinarian at the FDA. The most recent report was related to "skinny" (sugar-free) ice cream.
And you may have heard or read news stories about dogs that have died or become very ill after eating products containing xylitol , which also may be known as birch sugar or wood sugar.
Other Foods Containing Xylitol
Gum isn’t the only product containing xylitol. Slightly lower in calories than sugar, this sugar substitute is also often used to sweeten sugar-free candy, such as mints and chocolate bars, as well as sugar-free chewing gum. Other products that may contain xylitol include:
children’s and adult chewable vitamins
some peanut and nut butters
sugar-free desserts, including "skinny" ice cream
Xylitol can be used in baked goods, too, such as cakes, muffins, and pies — often because the baker is substituting another sweetener for sugar, as in products for people with diabetes. People can buy xylitol in bulk to bake sweet treats at home. In-store bakeries also are selling baked goods containing the sweetener. Some pediatric dentists also recommend xylitol-containing chewing gum for children, and these products could end up in a dog’s mouth by accident. It’s a good idea to keep all such products well out of your dog’s reach.
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