It’s no secret that sweeteners — both artificial and natural — may not be the healthiest choice for our bodies. It’s important to recognize that this popular additive in your diet may actually be poisonous to your pet.

Obviously, human foods aren’t created for dogs, but many of us are guilty of tossing scraps to Fido now and again, so it’s important to make sure you’re aware of what you’re putting is your pet’s body.

The most common artificial sweetener, Xylitol, can be found in human toothpaste, peanut butter, gum, just to name a few. And, like other sweeteners, is toxic to your dog.

When a dog ingests fake sugar, they get a rush of insulin that then makes their blood sugar levels fatally low. Once a dog has consumed it, their symptoms –vomiting, seizures, and even death –can appear anywhere up to 30 minutes after, to 12 hours after. Low blood sugar levels can cause a feeling of weakness as well as total loss of coordination. Very large portions ingested can cause rapid liver failure, if not death –making it very important to steer clear of treating your dogs to human intended products, especially with fake sugars!

If you suspect that your dog has ingested a Xylitol-containing product, make sure to call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680) right away. Don’t try to make them throw it up, as vomiting may even make some dogs worse. 

Although there is no antidote for Xylitol, in most if not all cases, veterinarians will hospitalize your dog to monitor their blood sugar levels, as well as administer any medicines or fluids they see necessary. 

As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local pet store if you have questions on this or any pet related topic.