The US FDA has issued a warning about this common sweetener and the danger it poses for dogs.
If you have a dog in the house, you are probably familiar with its tendency to eat nearly anything and everything it encounters. According to a report from CBS News, however, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has just issued a warning about dozens of household products that could pose a real threat to your dog if they are left out in the open.
Xylitol, a common sweetener used in a wide range of sugar-free gums and other products, can lead to serious consequences if ingested by a dog. The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine cited a sharp uptick in reports of dogs being poisoned by products containing xylitol, which can some times turn deadly.
Similarly, reports of xylitol poisoning to the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center rose from just 82 in 2004 to nearly 3,700 in 2014. The Pet Poison Helpline has also reported a 15 percent increase in xylitol-related calls this year alone.
The sweetener is safe for humans to consume, but dogs have trouble metabolizing the sweetener. According to a statement from the FDA, “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.”
Xylitol is most commonly used in sugar-free chewing gums, it can be found in other products like candy, breath mints, cough syrups, chewable vitamins for both children and adults, mouthwash, toothpaste, and certain baked products.
Dogs suffering form xylitol poisoning exhibit symptoms including vomiting, a sudden drop in blood sugar, lethargy, weakness, staggering, a lack of coordination and even seizures. If your dog exhibits these symptoms and may have eaten a product containing xylitol, the FDA urges you to take it to an animal hospital immediately.
A press release from the FDA describing the new safety guidelines can be found here.