Accidental dog poisoning is on the rise in the U.S. One of the culprits is xylitol, an ingredient found in many sugarless gums and candies that can lead to a dog’s death.
A low-calorie sugar substitute sourced from birch trees, xylitol is more than 100 times more toxic to dogs than chocolate, the Wall Street Journal reports. Veterinary toxicologist Dr. Ahna Brutlag told the paper she’s seen a severe surge in xylitol ingestion. Just this year, there have been 2,800 xylitol-related calls to the Pet Poison Helpline; in 2009, there were 300.
There’s yet to be comprehensive data on the number of dog deaths associated with xylitol poisoning. While the ingredient is OK for humans, it’s clearly important to keep away from your pets. According to CBS News, it can cause seizures, severe low blood sugar, and even liver failure in dogs.
And while you wouldn’t feed gum to your dog purposefully, there are other products — like some peanut butter — that sometimes contain the ingredient. According to Preventive Vet, the following items tend to carry xylitol:
- Sugar-free gum (Popular brands with xylitol include Orbit, Mentos, Ice Breakers, Pr, Starbucks, Stride, Nicorette and Trident)
- Peanut Butter (Popular brands with xylitol include Go Nuts, Co, Krush Nutrition, Nuts ‘N More, P28 Foods, Protein Plus PB)
- Throat lozenges
- Breath strips
- Hard candies
- Certain medications (Popular brands with xylitol include Allegra, Gummy Vites and Nature’s Plus)
- Some yogurts
- Some protein bars
Check out PreventiveVet for a more detailed list, and to reduce risk, check labels before you make a purchase.