Ingredient found in chewing gum and peanut butter can be fatal to dogs

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A lesser-known ingredient found in sugar-free chewing gum and several other items like candy can be potentially fatal to dogs if they consume it, a veterinarian has warned.

The ingredient, xylitol, is an artificial sweetener that is added to several products, including toothpaste, mouthwashes, vitamin supplements, some brands of peanut butter, and other “low-sugar” products. Sugar free.

Parents need to be extra careful after Halloween that their dog cannot get their hands on anything that contains it, as their kids are bringing candy home from Trick or Treating.

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Caroline Reay, head of veterinary services for the animal welfare charity Blue Cross, said: “Xylitol is a common sugar substitute that can be toxic to dogs, even in small amounts.

“It can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) because a dog’s pancreas will mistake it for real sugar, causing it to release more insulin.

“Insulin then removes the real sugar in the body, causing blood sugar to drop.

“Another reaction to xylitol is liver failure and it is even more serious, but it is not known what causes it.”

The alarming reactions dogs can have to this ingredient means that it’s really important for owners to be careful about what their dog has access to.

Dr Reay said: “Prevention is the key; all human food should be kept out of the reach of dogs, but be especially careful around products containing xylitol.

“Make sure that no packets of chewing gum are lying around the house or are kept in pockets and purses for your pet to loot.”

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Many pet owners like to put peanut butter on fluffy rugs for their dogs, as the rugs are meant to help calm anxious dogs or stimulate them when bored.

Pet parents should ensure that the peanut butter they use for this is from a dog-friendly brand that does not use xylitol in their products.

If your dog has managed to sniff and consume something that contains sweetener, it is important to get him treated as soon as possible.

Dr Reay said: “If you think your dog has eaten something that contains xylitol, you should take him to the vet immediately as it can be quickly absorbed into the bloodstream.

“If a drop in blood sugar is avoided or brought under control quickly, the prognosis is good.

“Delays in veterinary intervention can lead to further complications, irreversible damage and increase the likelihood that xylitol poisoning will become fatal.

“Make sure that, if possible, you bring the packaging of the product your dog has consumed to the vet. “


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