FDA Alert: Xylitol, artificial sweetener, can prove deadly for your dog

FDA Alert: Xylitol, artificial sweetener, can prove deadly for your dog

Xylitol, a common sweetener present in chewing gums, mints and other products, can either take your dog’s life or cause severe poisoning, informed the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in a recent advisory note.

The federal agency has come up with a warning at the time when a rise has been witnessed in number of deaths and severe illnesses after dogs accidentally ingest the artificial sweetener. The FDA warning, titled, ‘Xylitol and Your Dog: Danger, Paws Off’ was issued on Thursday as a part of the agency ‘consumer update’.

An earlier warning issued in 2011 by the FDA’s for Veterinary Medicine warned about potential illness in dogs and ferrets from eating xylitol. This artificial sweetener is a common ingredient in many foods and could have devastating effect on your pet.

Ingesting just a few pieces of gum can cause you dog poisoning, and its effects include low blood pressure, seizures, coma, liver damage and possibly death. The FDA has also mentioned that xylitol is also included in some nut butters as well.

Pet owners often give peanut butter to their pets as a treat. Xylitol-related calls have increased from 82 in 2004 to more than 3,700 in 2014. In fact, the Pet Poison Helpline has witnessed a 15% rise in the calls this year alone.

In humans, xylitol does not cause any problem as it 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”, mentioned the FDA.

Chewing gums is the biggest threat to dogs. But others include sugar-free candy, breath mints, cough syrup, mouthwash and toothpaste.