A family is coping with the tragic death of their beloved dog after he apparently ingested chewing gum containing the artificial sweetener, xylitol.
If you eat sugar-free chewing gum, candy, or cookies/brownies/cakes marketed as sugarless, chances are you’ve got xylitol in your purse or kitchen pantry.
Xylitol is a sugar-like substance that is widely categorized as a carbohydrate on food labels. This white crystal material, which appears and tastes like sugar, has been approved as a safe food additive for human consumption. In fact, xylitol is said to be the best sweetener for human teeth since it is not only natural, safe, and convenient, but effective in preventing tooth decay. Nevertheless, while this tasty nourishing substance is acceptable for humans, it is lethal for dogs.
A Nashville family learned this tragic lesson the hard way, after the death of their beloved Husky-mix, Canon.
Canon was a happy and healthy 3-year old pup until last month, when he suddenly refused to eat and began drinking a lot.
“Then he started vomiting the water and so that kind of was the red flag that made us decide to take him to the hospital. They gave him some IV fluids, sent us home with a bunch of antibiotics, and told us if he got worse take him on to Nashville’s Pet ER,” Canon’s owner, Christy Figlio told WZTV.
Later that day, Canon began convulsing. By the time he was rushed to the Nashville Pet Hospital, he had a 107 degree fever and was in liver failure. All symptoms which pointed to xylitol poisoning.
Veterinarians said Canon could’ve ingested gum that was spit out somewhere outside on the sidewalk, or even just ingested a stick of gum that had fallen out of a purse.
“Had I known that gum could be so deadly, it wouldn’t be allowed on our property,” Figlio said.
When dogs ingest xylitol, it becomes a sugar alcohol that results in a remarkable spike in their blood sugar levels. The ensuing insulin rush in dogs leads to a very dangerous drop of their glucose levels, triggering symptoms such as lethargy, weakness, loss of coordination, collapse, and even seizures. Because these alarming symptoms can occur within just 30 minutes of ingestion, it is important that you immediately bring your pet to the vet for emergency treatment. If the dog survives for long, the xylitol substance can also result in liver damage within only 24 hours.
Xylitol is proven to be deadly to a 65-pound dog with just a mere amount of three grams of the substance. Depending on the brand, this particular amount can be found in eight to ten sticks of chewing gum. Of course, with this basic estimate in mind, only a smaller amount of xylitol, maybe a couple of gum sticks, can easily claim the life of a small to average-sized toy breed.