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Caution! Beware of Xylitol

CautionMany dog owners know that if ingested, chocolate is dangerous to dogs. But more than half of dog owners don't know about the danger of another common substance: Xylitol.

Xylitol is found in sugar-free gum, but increasingly, it is also found in other foods as a substitute for sugar. It may be in candy, mints, peanut and other nut butters, cookies, ice cream, yogurt, jams, syrups and even toothpaste.

According to PreventiveVet.com, xylitol poisoning cases reported to the ASPCA's Animal Control Poison Center have skyrocketed. For example, in 2005, just 201 cases of xylitol poisoning were reported. Just five years later, in 2010, 2,537 cases were reported. In 2018, 6,760 cases were reported. Those are just the cases reported to the ASPCA -- not every case of xylitol poisoning.

In July 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration(FDA) published a report on the dangers of xylitol to dogs. The FDA wrote:

In both people and dogs, the level of blood sugar is controlled by the release of insulin from the pancreas. In people, xylitol does not stimulate the release of insulin from the pancreas. However, it’s different in canines: When dogs eat something containing xylitol, the xylitol is more quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, and may result in a potent release of insulin from the pancreas.

This rapid release of insulin may result in a rapid and profound decrease in the level of blood sugar (hypoglycemia), an effect that can occur within 10 to 60 minutes of eating the xylitol. Untreated, this hypoglycemia can quickly be life-threatening...

Dr. Martine Hartogensis, a veterinarian at the FDA recommends, "Check the label for xylitol in the ingredients of products, especially ones that advertise as sugar-free or low sugar. If a product does contain xylitol, make sure your pet can't get to it."

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