Don’t Let Your Dog Get to Your Chewing Gum

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A common sweetener in chewing gum could be lethal when ingested by dogs, the Food and Drug Administration warned this week.

Xylitol, a type of sweetener known as a sugar alcohol, is harmless to humans but triggers the release of insulin and the rapid drop in a dog’s blood sugar levels. The occurrence in dogs can lead to weakness, staggered walking, collapse and even death. The FDA warned dog owners that the sweetener can also be found in some baked goods, breath mints and other household products.

The FDA’s report comes as the number of calls related to xylitol appear to be on the rise. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ poison control center has reported a sharp increase in xylitol calls in recent years, from 82 in 2004 to more than 3,700 in 2015, CBS News reports. The jump follows the increased prevalence of xylitol in consumer products.

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