Health officials warn a new ingredient found in some peanut butter and other foods are killing dogs.

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Xylitol, an ingredient found in many human products is safe for humans but could cause devastating effects on pets, according to the FDA.

"The consequences could be deadly," the FDA warns. 

Martine Hartogensis, a veterinarian at the FDA says the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, has received many reports of dogs being poisoned by xylitol.

Xylitol has fewer calories than sugar and is used as a sugar substitute to sweeten sugar-free products. According to the FDA, the following products may contain xylitol:

  • Some peanut and nut butters
  • Breath mints
  • Sugarless gum
  • Baked goods
  • Cough syrup
  • Children’s and adult chewable vitamins
  • Mouthwash
  • Toothpaste
  • Over-the-counter medicines
  • Dietary supplements
  • Sugar-free desserts, including "skinny" ice cream

When a dog ingests xylitol it's more quickly absorbed into the bloodstream than humans and may result in a potent release of insulin from the pancreas, according to the FDA.

"This rapid release of insulin may result in a rapid and profound decrease in the level of blood sugar (hypoglycemia), an effect that can occur within 10 to 60 minutes of eating the xylitol. Untreated, this hypoglycemia can quickly be life-threatening," the FDA writes.

Symptoms of xylitol poisoning in dogs include vomiting, followed by decreased activity, weakness, staggering, incoordination, collapse and seizures.

If you think your dog has ingested xylitol, you should take your pet to the vet or ER right away.

Healthy officials recommend checking the labels of the products you buy for xylitol, especially if you buy something that is advertised as low in sugar or sugar-free.

It is ok to buy products that contain xylitol, but if you do, make sure you keep it away from your dog, officials say.

In December 2019, a dog named in Californa died after eating gum that contained the ingredient Xylitol. Two dogs from the UK also died after ingesting Xylitol. Dogs in South Carolina and Colorado nearly died after eating something with Xylitol.



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