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Common Sweetener Deadly to Dogs: FDA

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Monday, 16 May 2016 01:46 PM

A common sweetener used in a variety of products ranging from sugar-free gum to toothpaste is safe for human consumption but deadly if ingested by dogs, federal regulators are warning.

The substance, xylitol, is a class of sweetener known as sugar alcohol. The Food and Drug Administration issued the recent warning after receiving several reports—many of which pertained to chewing gum—of dogs being poisoned by xylitol.

The reason why xylitol is safe for humans but not dogs has to do with the way the product is metabolized. 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, the FDA says.’

Gum isn’t the only product containing xylitol. Slightly lower in calories than sugar, this sugar substitute is also often used to sweeten sugar-free candy, such as mints and chocolate bars. Other products that may contain xylitol include:
•    breath mints
•    baked goods
•    cough syrup
•    children’s and adult chewable vitamins
•    mouthwash
•    toothpaste

Symptoms of xylitol poisoning in dogs include vomiting, followed by symptoms associated with the sudden lowering of your dog’s blood sugar, such as decreased activity, weakness, staggering, incoordination, collapse and seizures.

A dog suspected of eating xylitol should be taken to the  vet or an emergency animal hospital immediately because hypoglycemia and other serious adverse effects may not occur in some cases for up to 12 to 24 hours, so the animal may need to be monitored.

 The toxicity of xylitol for cats has not been documented. They appear to be spared, at least in part, by their disdain for sweets, the FDA says.

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The FDA is warning that dogs that a common sweetener, which is used in sugarless gum along with a variety of other products, is poisonous to dogs.
xylitol, artificial, sweetener, poison, dogs, FDA
Monday, 16 May 2016 01:46 PM
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