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Paws Off Xylitol; It's Dangerous for Dogs

This sugar substitute, found in some human foods and dental products, can be poisonous to your dog.

木糖醇(xylitol)是一種常見的食品添加物,甜度幾乎與蔗糖相當,熱量卻只有蔗糖的 60%,做為從植物中萃取出的天然甜味劑,
過去幾年收到許多狗中毒的報告都與木糖醇相關。
狗和人類一樣,血糖水平都是由胰腺釋放胰島素控制,對人類來說,木糖醇並不會刺激胰腺釋放胰島素,但它在犬科動物身上的作用則有所不同,
當狗吃下含有木糖醇的食品後,木糖醇會迅速被血液吸收並促使胰島素釋放,過高的胰島素可能導致狗的血糖水平直線下降至危及生命的程度,這種低血糖(hypoglycemia)症況讓狗在食用後 15-30 分鐘內,便可能出現嘔吐、虛弱、行走站立困難、不協調、癲癇發作或昏迷等症狀,甚至可能在 1 小時危及生命。
儘管談到木糖醇可能就會想到口香糖,但其實在其他食品中木糖醇也相當常見,像是薄荷糖、烘焙食品、止咳糖漿、低熱量冰淇淋和一些花生堅果醬中都可以找到。
飼主應該檢查食品標籤上是否含有木糖醇,特別是如果該產品被宣傳為無糖或低糖,一旦確認產品中含有木糖醇,就必須確保寵物無法接觸到它,這也適用於你可能不會想到的「食物」,像是牙膏、漱口水。
除了狗以外,也有寵物貂在吃下含有木糖醇食品後產生低血糖和癲癇發作的案例,飼主應該多加注意。至於貓,由於牠們不喜歡甜食,至少就目前所知,木糖醇對貓的危險並不大。

 

Your six-month-old puppy, Hoover, will eat anything that isn’t tied down. Like many dog owners, you know chocolate can be dangerous to your pooch. But you may not know that if Hoover sticks his nose in your handbag and eats a pack of sugarless chewing gum, the consequences could be deadly.

Sugarless gum may contain xylitol, a class of sweetener known as sugar alcohol. Xylitol is present in many products and foods for human use, but can have devastating effects on your pet.

If you think your dog may have eaten a product containing xylitol, call your vet, emergency clinic, or animal poison control center right away.

Over the past several years, the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received several reports—many of which pertained to chewing gum—of dogs being poisoned by xylitol, according to Martine Hartogensis, a veterinarian at the FDA. The most recent report was related to "skinny" (sugar-free) ice cream.

And you may have heard or read news stories about dogs that have died or become very ill after eating products containing xylitol.

Other Foods Containing Xylitol

Gum isn’t the only product containing xylitol. Slightly lower in calories than sugar, this sugar substitute is also often used to sweeten sugar-free candy, such as mints and chocolate bars, as well as sugar-free chewing gum. Other products that may contain xylitol include:

breath mints

baked goods

cough syrup

children’s and adult chewable vitamins

mouthwash

toothpaste

some peanut and nut butters

over-the-counter medicines

dietary supplements

sugar-free desserts, including "skinny" ice cream

Xylitol can be used in baked goods, too, such as cakes, muffins, and pies — often because the baker is substituting another sweetener for sugar, as in products for people with diabetes. People can buy xylitol in bulk to bake sweet treats at home. In-store bakeries also are selling baked goods containing the sweetener. Some pediatric dentists also recommend xylitol-containing chewing gum for children, and these products could end up in a dog’s mouth by accident. It’s a good idea to keep all such products well out of your dog’s reach.

Why is Xylitol Dangerous to Dogs, but Not People?

In both people and dogs, the level of blood sugar is controlled by the release of insulin from the pancreas. In people, xylitol does not stimulate the release of insulin from the pancreas. However, it’s different in canines: When dogs eat something containing xylitol, the xylitol is more quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, and may result in a potent release of insulin from the pancreas.

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, Hartogensis says.

A note to cat and ferret owners: Xylitol does not seem to be as dangerous for cats and other pets. Cats appear to be spared, at least in part, by their disdain for sweets. Ferret owners, however, should be careful, as ferrets have been known to develop low blood sugar and seizures, like dogs, after eating products containing xylitol.

Symptoms to Look For in Your Dog
Symptoms of xylitol poisoning in dogs include vomiting, followed by symptoms associated with the sudden lowering of your dog’s blood sugar, such as decreased activity, weakness, staggering, incoordination, collapse and seizures.

If you think your dog has eaten xylitol, take him to your vet or an emergency animal hospital immediately, Hartogensis advises. Because hypoglycemia and other serious adverse effects may not occur in some cases for up to 12 to 24 hours, your dog may need to be hospitalized for medical monitoring.

What Can You Do to Avoid Xylitol Poisoning in Your Dog?

Dr. Hartogensis says, "Check the label for xylitol in the ingredients of products, especially ones that advertise as sugar-free or low sugar. If a product does contain xylitol, make sure your pet can't get to it." In addition:

Keep products that contain xylitol (including those you don’t think of as food, such as toothpaste) well out of your dog’s reach. Remember that some dogs are adept at counter surfing.
Only use pet toothpaste for pets, never human toothpaste.
If you give your dog nut butter as a treat or as a vehicle for pills, check the label first to make sure it doesn’t contain xylitol.
You Can Help the FDA by Reporting Safety Issues

The FDA wants to know if your pet encounters safety issues with a product, and/or unanticipated harmful effects that you believe are related to a product.

“Timely reporting of problems enables FDA to take prompt action,” Hartogensis says. Each report is evaluated to determine how serious the problem is and, if necessary, additional information may be requested from the person who filed the report.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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