Bottom Line's Daily Health News
No Sweets for Dogs
I have always followed the rule of thumb that dog food is for dogs and people food is for people, though I know that I am in the minority on that one. However, as much as we think of our pups as man's best friends, their digestion is definitely different, and they cannot tolerate a number of "people products," including the sugar-free and low-calorie sweetener xylitol (often found in gums, breath mints, candies, toothpastes and baked goods). In fact, xylitol in dogs can be down right deadly.
When I spoke with Eric K. Dunayer, VMD, veterinary toxicologist at the Animal Poison Control Center of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), about the recent report regarding dogs and xylitol, he told me that dogs actually have a sweet tooth and seem especially attracted to xylitol. This sweet tooth can get dogs into serious trouble, even, on occasion, kill them. With their powerful sense of smell, dogs can ferret out xylitol products in seconds and have been known to consume an entire jumbo-sized pack of xylitol sweetened gum lickety split, according to Dr. Dunayer.
DANGERS OF XYLITOL AND DOGS
Two major physiological events might then occur. For reasons unknown, dogs metabolize xylitol differently than humans -- their insulin levels increase which is why their blood glucose levels drop -- which can lead to hypoglycemia. The dog becomes sleepy, weak and unsteady on the feet and may collapse and seize. This cascade can develop rapidly, says Dr. Dunayer, starting within 30 to 60 minutes after xylitol consumption, depending on the size and age of the dog. The second danger, however, is even more insidious -- fatal liver failure and internal bleeding can develop in dogs who did not show hypoglycemia initially. These reactions have occurred in dogs of various breeds, mixes and both genders, says Dr. Dunayer. Consequently, he says, anyone whose pet has ingested the sweetener must call the vet immediately. Do not induce vomiting unless the vet tells you to do so. The reason: The symptoms move quickly and if the dog should collapse, it could choke on its vomit.
So, all you softies who feed your doggies little yum-yums, stick with the ones that are doggie approved and keep the xylitol along with any chocolate (including cocoa), raisins and grapes far from Fido's reach. (If you didn't know, chocolate can cause rapid heartbeat and excitement... and raisins and grapes can trigger kidney failure in dogs.)
|My old neighbor once banged on our door at 2am because she needed help carrying her Vizsla to the ER. He was experiencing seizures... It turned out he had ingested some xylitol...
When I found Pita munching the brand new pack of Orbitz gum, she had already finished the pack..about 16 pieces, I freaked out and immediately rushed her to the ER. She was induced vomitting and kept overnight. they monitored her blood glucose level every hour.
After a day and a half of monitoring she was safe to go home, but it really scared us because Pita finished a whole pack in less than 5 min!!! and if I hadn't caught her at the moment to find the gum wrappers, we could have easily missed it all together!
Please watchout for these new chemicals now starting to be one of the main sweetening ingredient in chewing gums now.
You can learn more about the specific effects online.
Here's an easy site to read
|I'm curious now...does anyone know if other artificial sweeteners are dangerous to dogs? (Equal, Splenda etc.)?
In hurried moments on road trips, when the dogs water has run out, Ive been tempted to give them some of my flavored, bottled water. I never have, because I was nervous about the sweetener.
|I knew it was always dangerous for dogs because I've heard of a few getting sick as well. I try to be careful not to drop the gum on the floor (comes in little squares). xylitol gum is so yummy to me! Mom always gets some for me at the korean store.|
|While at the vet a few months ago, a dog came in who had gotten into a pocketbook and ate alot of gum with Xylitol in the ingredients. the dog had a seisure and was hospitalized for nine days!
Xylitol is also found in some toothpaste and mouth wash. Not sure what else.
I'm interesetd in knowing about the artificial sweetners also if anyone knows...
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