Sugar Substitute Dangerous for Dogs

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Knoxville (WVLT) - A new ingredient showing up in many "sugar free" products is coming with a new warning, it's not for you, but for your pets, specifically dogs.

Volunteer TV's Stacy McCloud has more on why veterinarians are urging canine owners to keep these products away from animals.

If these treats look good to you, they probably look good to your pet too.

But a new sugar substitute in the ingredient line of many of these sugar free items, is coming with a very serious warning from the National Animal Poison Control Center.

"It's been shown to cause problems in dogs within 30 minutes of them ingesting it," says veterinarian Dr. Melissa Tiffany, from Airport Animal Hospital.

The ingredient that can cause these sudden problems is called "xylitol", and if ingested, it could pose deadly dangers, specifically for dogs.

"I would keep it away from cats too, but dogs seem to get into things more than cat's do," says Dr. Tiffany.

Veterinarian Melissa tiffany says the reason this particular ingredient is so harmful, hasn't been fully researched, but what is known, are the dangers if your pet ingests even a tiny amount.

"It does cause hypoglycemia, seizures and liver disease," Dr. Tiffany explains.

Signs of hypoglycemia include your dog being really quite, lethargic, weak or as mentioned, they could quickly go into seizures.

Tiffany says if you have products containing xylitol in your home, even in your trash, and notice these problems, there is one home remedy that can help.

"You can put pancake syrup on their gums so that it gives them some additional glucose," Dr. Tiffany recommends.

But says that since severe symptoms or even death can quickly occur, you should immediately call your vet.

As for a solution to keep something like that from ever happening, tiffany says it's simple. If a product isn't made for animals, keep it far out of reach.

Dr. Tiffany says you would be surprised at the many everyday things that can be deadly for your pet, things like mushrooms, onions, grapes, and even toothpaste.