COBB COUNTY, Ga. – It’s an ingredient that’s toxic for animals but several pet owners don’t know about it.
Xylitol is widely used as a sugar sweetener in toothpaste, gum and candies. It’s fine for humans but not so much for dogs, as one pet owner we spoke with found out.
“It was terrifying. I was scared for my dog’s life,” said dog owner Parker Hollander.
His dog was able to recover.
“It’s terrifying just the thought that some little thing like that can essentially kill my dog and just kill my best friend,” Hollander said.
Hollander said his dog Nelly got into a pack of gum he left out.
“She was kind of stumbling smacking her lips,” Hollander said.
Within minutes, Nelly started acting listless and lethargic.
“She started having seizures when i was trying to get her to the car and she couldn’t walk to the car. I had to pick her up and she was just shaking in my arms,” Hollander said.
Dr. Juliette van Galder, with the Chastain Animal Clinic, said pet owners are usually aware of a the dangers of a dog eating chocolate or grapes, but she said many more are completely unaware of the threat from xylitol.
“When we see a dog that’s ingested xylitol, it’s usually the first time that the owner has heard that it is a major deal,” van Galder said.
Fortunately, she said, treatment is very successful if the symptoms are recognized in time.
“This xylitol drops the blood sugar really low. And so, hypoglycemia ensues. You can’t get up. You can’t function,” she said.
Hollander got Nelly to the vet just in time. He wants dog owners to be careful as he pushes for change.
“I think gum, mint manufacturers should have a warning on the product saying keep this away from you pets if your pet ingests this get them to poison control,” Hollander said.
The chemical can lead to permanent liver damage and even liver failure.
Doctors recommend you check all of your sugar-free products to see if they contain xyliotol.
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