Sugarless Sweets Could Be Deadly Treats for Your Dog

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Curiosity killed the cat, and now it's attacking your dogs. They rummage through trash cans and eat what they find on the ground, usually harmless, but if dogs stumble on sugarless gum or candy, things could take a turn for the worse.

Veterinarian Leon Young said, "As little as one to two strips for a 20 pound dog is enough to make them sick. It causes the dog to be hypoglycemic and that makes the dog weak from over stimulation of the pancreas."

It's not the gum doing the harm, but a chemical in the gum called xylitol used to sweeten gum and candies, replacing sugar. It also causes liver failure in dogs.

Veterinarian Dale Hodges said, "It causes an insulin release and that drops their blood glucose levels to a point where they may have seizures. It also is readily absorbed and goes straight to the liver.

There are symptoms if you're dog has eaten anything with xylitol. Your dog may be acting depressed, have a loss of coordination, and may suffer from seizures. If you notice anything like this you don't have much time to get to the vet. Animal experts say it takes 30 minutes to an hour for symptoms to occur, and say this must be treated as an emergency, or you could lose your dog.

Experts say keep trash cans out of reach for dogs, and talk to young children about not giving food to pets.

For more information on how you can protect your dog, call your local vet.