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Xylitol warning to dog owners

A POPULAR sweetener found in chewing gum and used in cooking has been blamed for the agonising deaths of two pet dogs.

The case in Australia, being investigated by the RSPCA, has prompted an urgent warning that artificial sweetener xylitol is highly toxic to dogs and cats.

Xylitol is not harmful to humans but the amount in one stick of chewing gum could kill a family pet. The dogs' owners are angry they had no warning about the sweetener's potential dangers.
Owner Lyn Condo said the family's two dogs ate most of a batch of 60 homemade coconut petit fours sweetened with xylitol. She said both vomited late that night and were lethargic and not hungry the next day. She assumed the dogs – her daughter's Poodle Duke, 2, and her son's dog Aspen, 4, a Lhasa Apso – had bellyache from overeating. It was not until two days later that she realised how sick they were.

The dogs were rushed to the vet but died after bleeding internally.

Australian Veterinary Association SA spokesman Dr David Mason said if owners suspected a cat or dog had consumed xylitol, they should rush the pet to a vet within an hour or two to have a chance of full recovery.

He said that given the trend towards sugar substitutes for healthier eating, there were concerns incidents could become more common. However, xylitol was not dangerous to humans.

"It works differently in dogs and cats than it does in humans. It basically causes their blood sugar levels to drop. Cats and dogs and humans have very different metabolisms.’