FDA: Common sweetener can be deadly for dogs

Texas health code previously prohibited dogs from locations where food is served and prepared. (Photo: Jean / Wikipedia / CC BY 2.0)
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LANSING, MI (WILX) -- Be careful what you feed your dog.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is issuing an update to a warning about the dangers of xylitol.

The sugar substitute is found in human foods and some health products.

While xylitol isn't dangerous to humans, it can be deadly for dogs.

Foods that can contain xylitol include:

  • breath mints

  • Sugarless gum

  • baked goods

  • cough syrup

  • children’s and adult chewable vitamins

  • mouthwash

  • toothpaste

  • some peanut and nut butters

  • over-the-counter medicines

  • dietary supplements

  • sugar-free desserts, including "skinny" ice cream

The above list does not include all the foods that contain xylitol, so you're advised to check the label on food or treats before giving them to your dog.

The FDA encourages pet owners to keep products that contain xylitol (including those you don’t think of as food, such as toothpaste) well out of your dog’s reach.

If you suspect that your dog has eaten xylitol, you're urged to take them to the vet or animal hospital immediately.

Signs of xylitol poisoning include:

  • vomiting

  • seizures

  • coma

  • weakness

  • difficulty walking or standing

  • depression or lethargy

  • tremors

The FDA says symptoms can occur within 15-30 minutes and deaths have occurred in as little as an hour.

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