FDA warns an artificial sweetener is potentially fatal for dogs

FDA warns an artificial sweetener is potentially fatal for dogs

(WTVM) - The Food and Drug Administration has recently announced that an artificial sweetener found in foods and other items used by humans could be fatal for our canine friends.

And it could be in a favorite treat for man and his best friend: peanut butter.

The FDA says that xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in items for humans, like gum, peanut butter, toothpaste, breath mints, baked goods, vitamins and cough syrup, can be a quick-acting disaster for dogs.

Both dogs and humans have insulin that regulates blood sugar from their pancreas, but xylitol can send the blood sugar to tank, causing seizures and even death. The FDA says it could take anywhere from 10 to 60 minutes after the dog eats xylitol for it to take effect.

It could also take 12 to 24 hours for symptoms to appear.

"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," the FDA said.

Symptoms to look out for in dogs that have eaten xylitol are vomiting, then followed by symptoms associated with the sudden lowering of your dog's blood sugar, such as decreased activity, weakness, staggering, in coordination, collapse and seizures.

The FDA suggests getting your dog to a veterinarian right away if they have ingested xylitol.

This is the first official warning to dog owners about xylitol, but veterinarians have been speaking on the ill-effects of this artificial sweetener for years. But attention cat owners: no ill-effects have been seen in cats, according to the FDA.

The FDA suggests these tips in checking for xylitol:

  • 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.

For more on the FDA's findings, click here.

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