A common artificial sweetener found in sugar-free baked goods, candy, oral hygiene products and chewing gum can be deadly if ingested by a dog, the US Food and Drug Administration warns.
The ingredient, Xylitol, can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar (hypoglycemia), seizures and liver failure in dogs, which may lead to death, according to FDA. Signs that a dog may have consumed Xylitol can occur within minutes or days of ingesting the sweetener, and include depression, loss of coordination and vomiting.
FDA advises pet owners immediately contact a veterinarian or pet poison control center if they suspect their dog may have ingested the product.
"One explanation as to the increase in the number of pets accidentally exposed to xylitol may simply be an increase in availability," said Mindy Bough, vice president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Animal Poison Control Center. "Xylitol seems to be becoming more popular in food products because it is a useful sugar substitute for diabetics and has been shown to decrease the development of cavities in humans."