Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sugar substitutes can poison pets

According to the ASPCA’s poison-control office, more dogs than ever are being poisoned by products containing xylitol. That’s partly because xylitol is being used more widely but also because pet owners aren’t sufficiently aware of its dangers. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that is used as a sugar-free sweetener in candy, gum, baked goods, oral hygiene products and over-the-counter medications, cough drops and throat sprays. For humans Xylitol has been declared safe for use as an artificial sweetener. Pets, particularly dogs and ferrets, can become very ill if they ingest xylitol. A few sugar-free candies, a pack of gum, a spilled tin of mints or a cup of sugar-free gelatin is all it could take to send a dog into hypoglycemia-induced seizures. Just a bit more could bring on liver failure. FDA is advising consumers to always read the label on products and to not presume that a product that is safe for humans is safe for your pet. If you suspect your pet has ingested xylitol, some signs to look for are depression, loss of coordination and vomiting. The signs of illness may occur within minutes to days of ingesting xylitol. Owners should consult their veterinarian or pet poison control center immediately for advice if they know or suspect that their pet has ingested a human product containing xylitol. Source

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