A sweetener usually used in chewing gum can be lethal for dogs if they eat it, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A warning was released this week saying that the sweetener called Xylitol, known as sugar alcohol, is harmless for humans but it can kill dogs because it can release insulin and drop the dog’s blood sugar levels.
In dogs, the ingestion of the sweetener can cause weakness, staggered walking, collapse and even death in dogs. The FDA also said Xylitol can be found in baked goods, breath mints, human toothpaste, and even peanut butter, commonly used by pet owners to hide their dog’s medications.
The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine has received, over the past several years, multiple reports of dogs being poisoned by Xylitol and, sometimes, leading to deathly consequences.
Experts are trying to figure out why the sweetener is deadly for dogs and causes no harm to humans. When people consume Xylitol, it causes no effect in their blood sugar levels. In dogs, it prompts the pancreas to release a heavy dose of insulin due to it is absorbed into the bloodstream very rapidly. This sends their blood sugar levels fatally low. It can eventually, in extreme cases, cause the dog to become hypoglycemic.
Once a dog has eaten something that has Xylitol in it, the dog may start vomiting, staggering, seizures, and even death. The issue starts within a day of the dog consuming the food, more specifically, it starts between 30 minutes and a day after ingestion. Due to this gap, it can be unsure if the life of the dog is in danger at first.
Pet owners need to take their dogs to an emergency veterinarian as soon as they believe their dogs have been poisoned with Xylitol.