Common sweetener found in chewing gum could poison your dog

The FDA says that the sweetener is safe for humans, but affects dogs' pancreas

Feliks Garcia
New York
Monday 16 May 2016 17:55 BST
Christopher Furlong/Getty
Christopher Furlong/Getty (Getty)

When it comes to their diets, dogs do not discriminate. If left to roam about the house, there is no telling what they will find to eat. But a common sweetener found in a wide array of snacks could be poisonous for dogs.

The US Food and Drug Association warned that xylitol, a class of sweetener found in sugarless chewing gum, breath mints, tooth past, and other household goods, had been linked to serious illness or death in dogs.

Xylitol is perfectly safe for human consumption, the FDA says, but causes a significant release of insulin from a dog’s pancreas, resulting in a dramatic drop in the blood sugar.

If a dog ingests a food containing xylitol, the effects - including vomiting, weakness, collapse, or seizure - could take 12 to 24 hours to manifest, and would require immediate medical attention.

Cats are safe, for now, according to the FDA.

“The toxicity of xylitol for cats has not been documented,” the organisation said in a statement. “They appear to be spared, at least in part, by their disdain for sweets.”

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