Dog Owners, Beware: This Common Sweetener Could Kill Fido

What's Hot

5 Reasons to Shop for a Home in DecemberFamily

Shoppers Boycott Businesses Selling Trump-Branded ProductsBusiness

Giving Thanks: Why Foreigners Find America AmazingAround The House

Why Washing Your Turkey Can Make You IllFamily

50 Best Gifts Under $25 for Everyone on Your ListFamily

Pay $2 and Get Unlimited Wendy’s Frosty Treats in 2017Family

What the Richest 1 Percent Earns in Every StateFamily

10 Ways to Retire Earlier Than Friends on the Same SalaryGrow

The 10 Best Ways to Blow Your MoneyCredit & Debt

7 Foods That Can Lengthen Your LifeFamily

The 50 Hottest Toys of the Past 50 YearsFamily

New Email Phishing Scam Targets Amazon ShoppersMore

7 Government Freebies You Can Get TodayFamily

A sugar substitute used in some chewing gums and vitamins, and increasingly in other food products, is being blamed for a surge in dog poisonings.

Dogs and chocolate don’t mix. In fact, it can be a fatal combination. Although most dog owners are probably aware that chocolate is harmful to their furry friends, what many don’t know is that a sugar substitute is 100 times as toxic to dogs as milk chocolate and it is used in a growing number of food products.

Xylitol, a sugar substitute used in chewing gum, mints, sugar-free candies, gummy vitamins, toothpaste, specialty peanut butter and melatonin sleep aids, is behind an increase in accidental dog poisonings, some of them fatal, The Wall Street Journal reports.

“We’ve seen a dramatic increase” in xylitol calls, said Dr. Ahna Brutlag, senior veterinary toxicologist at the Pet Poison Helpline, in an interview with the Journal. So far this year, Brutlag’s center has received 2,800 calls about known or suspected xylitol ingestion, a marked increase from the 300 xylitol-related calls the center received in 2009.

The Animal Poison Control Center of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals received more than 3,700 xylitol calls in 2014, 11 that involved canine fatalities, according to CBS. In 2004, the center received 82 such calls.

Brutlag said the sugar substitute is one of the most dangerous food-related poisons her center deals with.

“There are still a lot of dog owners who have never heard of xylitol, nor do they understand that something this benign, an ordinary sweetener, could be toxic to pets,” Brutlag said.

Although xylitol is safe for human consumption, ingesting it can cause a sudden release of insulin in dogs, resulting in low blood sugar, seizures, liver failure, brain damage and even death, CBS said.

While some animal welfare groups and pet owners are calling for warning labels on products that contain xylitol – like this online petition from a pet-safety group in Oregon – other people argue that educating dog owners about xylitol’s threat to their canine companions is a more efficient and effective way to address the issue.

Many food manufacturers argue that their products are meant for human, not canine, consumption and that they’re properly labeled with xylitol as an ingredient.

I’m sure any dog owner will tell you that their pooch doesn’t care whom the yummy-smelling food is meant for, nor what the product label says: If they can get to the food, they’re going to eat it. For this reason, I’m in favor of education over relabeling products.

Did you know that xylitol can be deadly to dogs? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!


Read Next: The 7 Worst Things to Buy at a Dollar Store

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,767 more deals!