I am going to reprint an article that I found here about the dangers of Xylitol, which is a sugar-alcohol based sweetener.
Dec 14, 2010
The Dangers of Xylitol
Most everyone knows that chocolate should be kept out of reach of pets.
There is a new threat to be concerned about.
The new types of artificial sweeteners contain ingredients even more dangerous than chocolate.
The main culprit is the artificial sweetener, Xylitol. Xylitol is found in gums like Orbit.
What makes this ingredient dangerous is that, although the human body can metabolize these complex molecules, the canine body is unable to do so. Also, it seems that once they contact Xylitol in particular, it tastes so sweet that they find it literally irresistible.
The complex unmetabolizable molecule is actually a sugar alcohol, and not a true sugar. Due to its inability to be broken down like normal sugars by the liver and pancreas in the canine body, therefore falls to the kidneys to filter it out like other unprocessable substances. However, the action of the kidneys is not enough to prevent the level of Xylitol in the blood from reaching a critical level. The animal will then experience an overdose, even from a single piece of gum. The net effect of all this leads to a Grand Mals type seizure within 24 hours of ingestion.
The animal may experience as many as 3 more seizures within a 24 hr. period. These symptoms are caused by an apparent acute onset of hypoglycemia, which causes lack of coordination, collapsing and seizure. If your pet ingests a product with Xylitol, please head straight to the nearest ER Clinic!
An Article from ASPCA:
Dog owners beware: The number of dogs harmed from ingesting xylitol, a sugar substitute used in sugar-free chewing gum, toothpaste and baked goods, is on the rise, according to a recent report from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Animal Poison Control Center.
In 2003, the ASPCA recorded only three xylitol poisonings, which can cause hypoglycemia, liver failure and even death in dogs. That number skyrocketed to 70 in 2004. In 2005, there were more than 170 cases, and between January and August 2006, there have already been 114 cases reported.
Signs that your dog might have ingested products containing xylitol as a sweetener can show up quickly, sometimes within 30 minutes of eating the product. According to Dr. Eric Dunayer, a veterinarian and toxicologist for the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, dogs that have ingested small amounts of xylitol might be affected but not show signs until up to 12 hours afterward. Signs your dog has ingested a product containing xylitol as a sweetener include an abrupt drop in blood sugar, vomiting, depression, loss of coordination and seizures.
If you find that your dog has consumed a product containing xylitol as a sweetener, call your veterinarian immediately. If the dog is exhibiting symptoms, take the dog to the vet’s office right away.
To prevent xylitol poisoning, dog owners should be aware of products that often contain xylitol as a sweetener, and keep those products out of reach of their dogs. They include: candy, chewing gum, breath fresheners, smoking cessation aids such as nicotine gum, toothpastes, sunscreen and some vitamins and diet supplements.
Thanks to: VETEK CHIC ON WHEELS: The Dangers of Xylitol