Low-carb products sweetened with Xylitol may cause harm to your pet
If you are the owner of any dogs and use low-carb or sugar-free products that are sweetened with the artificial sweetener Xylitol, then listen up!
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has an Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) which has put out a stern warning to you regarding the up-and-coming sugar alternative Xylitol because is has been known to cause some rather serious problems in dogs.
It seems that dogs will be dogs and eat just about whatever they can get their teeth into. Unfortunately for Buster, though, that curiousity can be bad news if the item he is eating contains Xylitol because it can cause a sudden drop in your pet's blood sugar which can lead to depression, lack of coordination and even seizures. APCC said this can happen as quickly as thirty minutes after ingesting the Xylitol-based product.
APCC veterinary toxicologist Dr. Eric Dunayer once believed only higher doses of Xylitol would cause problems in canines. However, the latest research has shown that this assumption was incorrect.
“We seem to be learning new information with each case we manage,” he said. “We also have begun to see problems developing from ingestions of products with lesser amounts of this sweetener.”
Just how bad has this problem gotten? In 2005, there were a little more than 170 cases involving pets eating Xylitol products and having medical issues as a result. In 2004, there only 70 such cases. So what about the first six months of 2006? There have already been 114 cases through the end of June.
“It’s difficult to say why there’s such an increase,” an APCC representative explained. “Xylitol products are relatively new to the United States marketplace, so one possibility may be an increase in availability.”
It's true. Xylitol is beginning to be used more and more in a lot of low-carb, sugar-free gums, mints, and other such products. If you are livin' la vida low-carb and use these foods sweetened with Xylitol, then please keep them in a place where your dog cannot get to them. Make sure you read the labels of the products you use to see if they contain Xylitol or not so you can be aware.
This story did not say anything regarding the effect of Xylitol on cats or whether any other sweeteners such as Splenda, Nutrasweet, ACE-K, Sweet N' Low, etc. But it's probably a good idea to keep all of these away from any pets you may own as a safeguard.
There is an excellent resource provided to pet owners by APCC if you believe your pet has consumed anything with Xylitol in it. A toll-free emergency hotline number is available 24 hours a day if you need them:
Of course, you should also contact your local veterinarian if you need immediate assistance with helping your pet in the event of an adverse reaction to ingesting Xylitol.
On a personal note, that beautiful orange cat you see at the top of this blog post is the latest addition to the Moore household's pet population. Her name is Peaches and she replaces our beloved Millie Jo who died of cancer earlier this year. This kitten is a wild one, too, getting into anything and everything without a care in the world. She's spunky, energetic, and provides Christine and I LOADS of free entertainment! :D I've never seen a cat play with her food like Peaches does. She's our little "stupid." LOL!
I'll be sure that she, Muffin, Ginger and Smokey (the rest of our cat crew!) stay away from the Xylitol. Unless I'm mad at them...JUST KIDDING! Do what you have to do to protect your dogs and cats from this seemingly harmless sweetener.