When you’re sharing out treats from the table, check the ingredients list first. Veterinarians released a report at the end of September warning that the sugar substitute xylitol may cause fatal liver failure in dogs.
Xylitol is a naturally occurring product that is used in sugar-free chewing gums, toothpaste, candies, and baked goods. Even a small amount of xylitol can trigger a major insulin release in a dog’s body, causing their blood sugar to drop dramatically.
Researchers from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals looked at data from dogs treated by veterinarians after ingesting products made with xylitol between 2003 and 2005. Five dogs died or had to be euthanized because of liver failure. The common factor in all cases (fatal and non-fatal) was the sugar substitute.
Right now, veterinarians only suspect the link between xylitol and liver failure. Further studies will be needed to find a definite cause and effect relationship. But it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Just one gram (0.03 ounces) of xylitol can be dangerous to dogs, depending on body size. Veterinarians recommend keeping anything made with xylitol away from your dogs. If your dog does ingest something made with xylitol, you should seek treatment as soon as possible.
Other artificial sweeteners don’t seem to be dangerous to dogs. However, too much of anything can be bad. If you want to share “people food” with your pets, choose safe and healthy foods like apples and carrots. The occasional tidbit from the table can help your pets feel more like a part of the pack; just keep in mind that you the owner are responsible for your dog’s health and well being. You must make smart choices for him, because if he had to choose for himself… he’d choose to eat everything. I know my Moose would! He’s the Original Hollow Dog — there’s always room for another treat.