Today we almost lost our puppy Zelda. This is the puppy that we got this same week last year after one of our dogs, Zeus, was hit and killed in our driveway. Great time of year in this household.Anyway, Zelda got into a half pack (thank God only half) of Orbit sugar free gum. Big deal right? Well, apparently the sweetener Xylitol that seems to be in every pack of sugar free gum around is VERY toxic to dogs. Troy was so upset and insistent that I take her to the vet that I did. By the time we got to the vet’s office, about 15 minutes after Zelda had eaten the gum, her blood sugar was already 50 points below normal and she was basically falling asleep or so it appeared. Had they not had her vomit it she most likely would have died of insulin shock/hypoglycemia pretty quickly. If that had not killed her though, the liver damage that this toxin does to dogs would have by the next day or shortly thereafter.Even the vet didn’t realize how toxic the stuff is to dogs until she called the vet poison control center. They told her that 2 pieces of gum or candy (gum sized) with Xylitol would throw a 13 pound dog into severe hypoglycemia, 10 pieces would throw it into liver failure on top of that. We figure she ate somewhere between 5 and 10 pieces of Orbit gum.Anyway, Zelda is now on IV dextrose and fluids all night, with glucose checks at a minimum of every 6 hours once they stabilize her blood sugar and they also have to now run the liver tox screens for the next 72 hours as well.
Please pass this on to anyone you know who has dogs. If they’re like me they will have little to no clue that this stuff is a problem. Interestingly, poison control told the vet that some makers of sugar free gum with Xylitol reimburse pet owners whose pets ingest Xylitol for their vet bills – which can be VERY steep I can tell you. Unfortunately, the makers of Orbit wasn’t one of them. But at least I didn’t lose another dog this year!! They’re hoping that she will make a full recovery.
The above is an email that was forwarded to me. Interestingly enough, it is true.
Experts say a commonly used sweetener found in chewing gum, candies, baked goods, and toothpaste could cause liver failure in dogs.
Even a small amount of the sugar substitute Xylitol can trigger a significant insulin release, which experts believe causes a drop in a dog’s blood sugar level. The decline in blood sugar can be fatal.
Does this mean Xylitol is harmful to humans?
Not at all. It just means that as much as people love their pets and think of them as human, they are not. Dogs and cats, for that matter, are not designed to eat human food. And Xylitol is not the only human food that’s harmful to pets. Chocolate too can kill your dog. With humans, it just makes us feel like we’re in love. For most people, those are very different responses. Note: onion, garlic, and macadamia nuts can also be deadly to pets.
Look at your teeth in the mirror, then look at your pets. Not the same. And if you could compare digestive tracts, very different too. (For more info, check out Chapter 6 of Lessons from the Miracle Doctors. (You can download a free copy at www.jonbarron.org.)
Bottom line: don’t feed your pets the food you eat. They’re not designed to handle it. (For that matter, most people aren’t designed to handle the highly processed, overly cooked diet they eat day in day out, but that’s a different story.)