What not to feed your dog – gum edition

We have many sugar substitutes in our homes. Many of those we don’t realize are potentially life-threatening to our dogs.

This row at the store is poison to dogs.

The offending ingredient?

Xylitol.

Xylitol is a sugar substitute and used often in sugar free gum. It can be in other sugar free products such as toothpaste, mouthwash, peanut butter, sugar free mints, and more.

Why can people have it but dogs can’t?

When people eat sugar, the pancreas releases insulin to intercept the sugar molecules and use them for energy.

Xylitol doesn’t cause the insulin release in people because our bodies don’t recognize it as sugar.

Dogs, unfortunately, do recognize it as sugar, although not normal sugar. They have an overreaction to the xylitol. Their reaction causes an overwhelming release of insulin into the body.

This results in life-threatening hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

If not treated immediately, it can progress to liver failure and death.

If your dog has any exposure at all to xylitol, it should be taken to your veterinarian or nearest emergency clinic immediately.

Vomiting may be induced if ingestion was recent.

Your dog will likely be put on IV fluids with dextrose added. Liver support will be provided as well. Constant blood sugar monitoring is crucial to keep up with the dog’s metabolism of the toxin.

The best thing is preventing ingestion.

Be sure to read ingredient labels on sugar free items. Keep purses and snacks away from nosy dogs. If ingestion occurs, seek veterinary care immediately.

This is not something you can “wait and see” about.

Read labels.

Keep your pets safe!

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