SAFETY ALERT: Ingredient found in everyday food can be fatal for pets

Sugar substitute xylitol is becoming more and more popular in everyday items and WHIO consumer reporter Rachel Murray reports it could be fatal if consumed by a dog.

Xylitol is used in items such as toothpaste, dental floss, lip balm and even peanut butter. The latter being the most concerning since dog owners like to hide pills inside peanut butter in order to get their dog to take medicine.

Chewing gun and mints are also items that could contain xylitol and dog owner Parker Hollander found out first hand just how devastating these items could be for a dog.

Hollander did not think it was a big deal when his dog Nellie got into a package of mints. Thirty minutes later Nellie couldn’t even walk. "She tried walking over to me and she started stumbling and falling over,” stated Hollander.  “I had to pick her up and she was shaking in my arms, I was terrified,” said Hollander. Immediately Nellie was taken to the veterinarian and was able to survive because of Hollander’s fast response.

Just one stick of gum with xylitol can be potentially lethal for a small dog as it causes a sudden drop in glucose and live failure. Other symptoms of xylitol poisoning include weakness, being wobbly on their feet and seizures. Veterinarians say even the smallest amount of exposure warrants a trip to the emergency room.

Many animal groups have called for warning labels on products that use xylitol, but until that happens it is important that animal owners know the growing list of products that contain it.

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