Beware: Popular Sugar Substitute Xylitol Is Deadly Poison for Your Pets

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Recently, the FDA reported a common sugar substitute is dangerous for dogs to ingest. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol and is found in many food items, including sugar-free candies, puddings and even in some peanut butters. It is also used in mouthwash and toothpaste.

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Although xylitol is totally safe for humans, it causes a massive insulin dump from the pancreas into the bloodstream for dogs. This can cause them to have dangerously low blood sugar levels and other symptoms such as weakness, trembling and seizures.

This could happen if, for instance, your pup eats a packet of sugar-free gum.

If you think your dog has eaten a product containing xylitol, call your veterinarian or animal poison control center immediately.

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Gum is the most common source of xylitol poisoning in dogs, followed by “skinny” ice-cream. Poisonings can also occur when dog owners give their pets treats or medicine with a bit of peanut butter, so make sure to check the label on the jar before doing this.

To be clear: Xylitol does not have the same effect for people. People with diabetes often have it in bulk amounts at home to bake and sweeten with. Many homes contain store-bought products sweetened with xylitol, so, again, if you have a dog, be sure to check labels – especially if the product is branded as sugar-free or low-sugar.

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You don’t really have to worry about your cat because they aren’t big on sweet stuff. But your big, floppy doggo is always surfing for your gum, flavored toothpaste or box of “skinny” cookies. Put the yummies safely away – maybe with the chocolate – and, one more time, check labels before doling out the treats or meds.