Is Your Dieting Killing Your Dog? “Paws Off,” Says the FDA

Diet and pets

The FDA warns that your dieting attempts could be killing your dog if you do not take these special precautions.

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We all know that chocolate is a big no-no for the family pooch. Some of us are aware that some kitchen scraps are harmful to dogs as well. But did you know that some of your dieting foods among other common household food items can be equally dangerous as well?

In a new warning for pet owners from the FDA, dieters who consume sugar-free products such some brands of chewing gum or foods that help cut calories, may be putting their pooch’s health at risk due to the artificial sweetener xylitol.

As an aside, here is how some fake sugars may be killing people as well.

According to the FDA, xylitol―a class of sweetener known as sugar alcohol―is present in many products and foods for human use, can have devastating effects on your pet. In fact, the FDA states that over the past several years, the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received several reports—many of which pertained to chewing gum—of dogs being poisoned by xylitol.

The Problem with Foods Containing Xylitol

The problem with the artificial sweetener xylitol is that while not harmful in humans, in canines it causes a rapid release of insulin from the pancreas that can result in a rapid onset of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) within 10 to 60 minutes of eating the xylitol. Untreated, this hypoglycemia can quickly be life-threatening.

However, hypoglycemia and other serious adverse effects may not occur in some cases for up to 12 to 24 hours after eating the xylitol-containing food, therefore requiring close monitoring of your dog should you discover he or she has been in your goodies.

Other Foods Containing Xylitol

Not only is chewing gum an offender, this sugar substitute is also often used to sweeten other foods such as:

breath mints
baked goods
cough syrup
children’s and adult chewable vitamins
mouthwash
toothpaste

Symptoms of Xylitol Poisoning in Dogs

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Symptoms of xylitol poisoning in dogs include:

vomiting
decreased activity
weakness
staggering
incoordination
collapse
seizures

So What Can You Do About Poisoning in Your Dog?

The first step is to keep xylitol away from your pet.

“If you’re concerned about your dog eating a food or product with xylitol in it, check the label of ingredients. If it does, indeed, say that it contains xylitol, make sure your pet can’t get to it,” says Martine Hartogensis, a veterinarian at the FDA.

In addition, you should:

--Keep products that contain xylitol (including those you don’t think of as food, such as toothpaste) well out of your dog’s reach. Remember that some dogs are adept at counter surfing.

--Only use pet toothpaste for pets, never human toothpaste.

--If you give your dog nut butter as a treat or as a vehicle for pills, check the label first to make sure it doesn’t contain xylitol.

But if despite your best efforts to keep Fido away from xylitol-containing foods fails, your best recourse is not to waste any time and get him or her to your vet or an emergency animal hospital immediately where they can assess the health situation and provide appropriate treatment.

For more pet health advice that can mean the difference between life and death, be sure to check out these informative articles on how to prevent Lyme disease in your pet this summer and how your pet can get kennel cough without going to a kennel.

Reference: FDA.gov― “Xylitol and Your Dog: Danger, Paws Off

Image courtesy of Pixabay

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kitchen scraps are harmful to dogs as well. But did you know that some of your dieting foods among other common household food items can be equally dangerous as well? In a new warning for pet owners from the FDA, dieters who consume sugar-free products such some brands of chewing gum or foods that help cut calories, may be putting their pooch’s health at risk due to the artificial sweetener xylitol." data-share-imageurl="">
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