Sugarless gum poses a life threatening hazard for dogs because it contains an ingredient that may poison them to death.
Though sugarless gum is safe for humans, it turns out that dogs may actually die due to a specific additive. The sweetener used in these gums is called Xylitol and is used to replace sugar in sugar free foods.
Experts say that Xylitol is almost 100 times as poisonous as milk chocolate for dogs. Xylitol is causing a huge number of dog deaths due to toxic ingestion, according to animal poison-control centers.
Dr. Ahna Brutlag, senior veterinary toxicologist at the Pet Poison Helpline said, “We’ve seen a dramatic increase in xylitol”. Dr. Brutlag’s center has received 2,800 calls about known or suspected xylitol ingestion till now in 2015 alone. In the year 2009 the number was just 300.
Ms. Cox reached home and found that the labradoodle had reached out to the gum by knocking it off her son’s Ice Breakers from the counter and taken in almost 20 pieces. This caused repeated vomiting and later lethargy in Jo. When rushed to a veterinary doctor, it was found that the dog had liver fever.
Ms Cox stated, “They told me to bring my kids in to say goodbye to her. We all held her and cried.” She had to go through three blood-plasma transfusions but their brave dog went through it all and managed to survive. Still, the treatment didn’t come for free, and bills reached about $5,000.
Dr. Brutlag stated that xylitol is presently one of the most dangerous food-related toxins that her clinic deals with. “There are still a lot of dog owners who have never heard of xylitol, nor do they understand that something this benign, an ordinary sweetener, could be toxic to pets.”
Despite the recent increase in dog poisoning and deaths, no comprehensive figures are available on the number of dogs dying from eating xylitol.
Pet owners whose pets have suffered are demanding a warning on labels on products containing xylitol. Apart from this an Oregon pet-safety group is now forming an online petition asking for similar steps. However, some pet-poisoning experts feel that this is not realistic, and say that the best thing to do is create awareness among dog owners.