Paws off Pup! Don't feed your dog this harmful little household sweet

Berlin, Germany – Put your paws up, pup! We've all heard the classic "the dog ate my homework," but what if the dog ate your chewing gum, too?

Make sure your dog doesn't eat your homework – or your sugar substitues!
Make sure your dog doesn't eat your homework – or your sugar substitues!  © 123RF/Soloway

Most dog owners know that chocolate or grapes are poisonous foods for their four-legged friends.

But a new announcement shows that fake sugar can have deadly consequences for your dog, too.

One common substance that fewer people are aware can harm their pets are sugar substitutes, such as xylitol.

These substitutes can lead to massive hypoglycemia – plunging low blood sugar levels – in dogs within 30 to 60 minutes of ingesting them, warns veterinarian Tina Hoelscher from the animal rights group Aktion Tier.

Unlike in humans, such substances cause a rapid rise in insulin in dogs, which lowers the amount of real sugar in their bloodstream. Depending on how much was eaten, a dog could suffer cramps, liver failure, or a coma.

In some extreme cases, it can even lead to death.

Pet owners should contact a vet if their dog ingests fake sugar

Don't even think about it, Fido!
Don't even think about it, Fido!  © 123RF/Olga Yastremska

Xylitol is a compound that occurs naturally and in small amounts of some fruits. Humans also have tiny traces of the substance in their bodies.

In industrial production, it is not as commonly used as a stand-alone household sweetener, but is more often seen as an added ingredient in pills, dietary supplements, toothpaste, and chewing gum.

Depending on the xylitol content, just one to three pieces of sugar-free gum can be enough to kill a medium-size dog.

If your dog accidentally eats any fake sugar products, it is recommended that you immediately take them to the nearest vet for detoxification, which attempts to stop the substitute from passing into your pet's body from its intestines.

In many cases, the vet can give the dog an injection to induce vomiting, helping to get rid of as much of the toxin as possible.

Afterwards, activated charcoal can additionally be given to the dog to prevent further absorption from the intestine. However, it has not been conclusively shown that this measure is effective in all cases.

Yet, in case you were worried, cat owners can breathe a sigh of relief. Kitties are actually not as sensitive to fake sugar! They show signs of poisoning at much higher levels than their canine counterparts.

So you may want to keep your kitties away from your stash of gum, but make sure to keep your pups even further!

Cover photo: 123RF/Soloway

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