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Beware---Chewing Gum Ingredient May Just Kill Your Dog

Update Date: Nov 05, 2015 04:44 PM EST

An artificial sweetener in sugarless gum is suddenly found to be a fatal toxin to dogs, according to CBS News.

Xylitol, a substitute that is an ingredient in "sugarless gums, candy, peanut butter and other food products", is safe for humans but highly poisonous to dogs. It brings down their blood sugar, leading to liver failure, seizures, and can even kill, at times.

Human bodies absorb the sweetener slowly, while dogs tend to absorb it quickly, within just half an hour of consumption. It leads to quick insulin release. Hence, the pet's blood sugar can reduce, leading to hypoglycemia, according to an article posted on ASPCA's website.

In dogs, just 50 milligrams of xylitol per pound of body weight can lead to hypoglycemia. Nine pieces of "sugarless gums" can thus lead to hypoglycaemia in a 45-pound dog. And 45 pieces of the deadly gum may lead the liver to collapse, reportsVCA Animal Hospitals.

Worryingly, the number of dogs suffering from xylitol toxicity is rising. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' (ASPCA) Animal Poison Control Center has pointed out that the xylitol poisoning in dogs has gone up from 82 reported cases in 2004 to 3,700 cases in 2014.

"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," Dr. Ahna Brutlag, senior veterinary toxicologist at the Pet Poison hotline, told Wall Street Journal.

It is important to be vigilant and keep away the gum from your pets.

"You just have to be really careful because dogs are nosy little creatures and they are hungry all the time. I know my dogs are, and they are just looking for a treat. So you have to really watch them," Dr. Ashley Gallagher from the Friendship Hospital for Animals in Washington, D.C., told CBS News.

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