Veterinarians urging pet owners to avoid ingredient - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Veterinarians urging pet owners to avoid ingredient

Amarillo, TX - A common additive in many foods is causing concern among veterinarians.

It's called Xylitol...and while it is okay for humans to consume, it can have deadly results for pets.

They're everyday products like toothpaste and bubblegum that many pet owners don't think twice about leaving around the house, but they should probably think again.

Many of these products contain Xylitol, an artificial sweetener, and veterinarians say Xylitol poisoning is on the rise.

"We see a fair number of cases here especially around the holidays when people are baking and using artificial sweeteners," says Veterinarian Jenner Barber.

"Xylitol is a very common sweetener in things like sugar free gum, also in mints. You can actually buy powdered Xylitol to cook with. It's also commonly found in a lot of like chewable vitamins or chewable tablets for people," says ASPCA Medical Director Tina Wismer.

If your pet gets into a product with Xylitol...it can cause some major problems, including liver failure.

"One of the things that Xylitol does, is it causes a drastic decrease in blood sugar, And so the acute onset or the early onset of symptoms that are related to this toxicosis are often manifested as hypoglycemic events so low blood sugar events and those can look like just a dog that doesn't feel good, lethargic but it can be as serious as seizures coma or even death," says Barber.

Just .2 to .4 grams of Xylitol can be deadly...and many chewing gums contain between 1-2 grams per piece. What both doctors say you should do...simply keep an eye on your pets and what they are consuming.

"You may know that these things are a problem for your dog, but your guests may not. So you know, we don't want grandma to come over and put her purse on the floor and have the dog get into things that way," says Wismer.

Another thing to be on the lookout for is over the counter medications. Vets tell us they are often coated with Xylitol, an added reason to keep pets away.

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