A new report from the British Veterinary Association (BVA) has come out on the dangers of artificial sweeteners if digested by dogs as well as possibly cats and ferrets. The sweetener Xylitol is used in lots of sweets on the market like chewing gum, cakes and biscuits. If eaten by a dog this can cause a sudden release of insulin which in turn will drop the bodies blood sugar levels causing hypoglycaemia. This can even lead to liver damage making the sweetener toxic to dogs. Signs of over consumption are vomiting, lack of balance, co ordination and lethargy.
Xylitol is not considered harmful to humans in the same way, and as a result can be found in many of the foods we eat as well as dental products and medicines. One of the main issues is even realising that your pet dog has consumed this product and that is the cause for illness. In the instance you think your pet may have eaten this sweetener you need to contact your Vet immediately
The Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) is currently monitoring all referred cases to see the extent of its toxicity in dogs, cats and ferrets.
This will probably be added to the poisons list along with other human foods such as chocolate and grapes to try and raise awareness that human food can be toxic to pets. The BVA Animal Welfare Foundation and the Veterinary Poisons Information Service have produced an easy guide to keeping pets safe from harmful substances. The ‘Pets and poisons:keeping your animal safe’ leaflet can be downloaded from www.bva-awf.org.uk and provides owners with everything they need to know.