don’t give your dog chewing gum

don't give me chewing gum

This was news to me when I heard it. It seems that xylitol, an artificial sweetener used in a lot of common things like chewing gum, can be fatal to dogs, even in small doses.

No Sugar Coating: Products Sweetened With Xylitol Can Be Toxic To Dogs
Urbana, Ill., August 21, 2006:”The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center cautions animal owners that xylitol, a sweetener found in certain sugar-free chewing gums, candies, baked goods and other products can potentially cause serious and even life-threatening problems for pets.

Apparently, xylitol causes a sudden big release of insulin in dogs, resulting in a large drop in blood sugar. My guess is that there’s likely something subtly different about the receptor(s) that mediate insulin response in dogs compared to humans or other mammals that accounts for the magnitude of this response to xylitol in dogs. Since xylitol isn’t digestible, my guess is that it likely hangs around for quite a while doing its damage, which would account for how it causes liver damage. If it just behaved the same way as other sugar alcohols that are used as artificial sweeteners, it would just pass through their digestive tract to be digested in the large intestine by the bacteria there… causing doggy farts.

Sucralose

I’m getting a really negative attitude towards consuming artificial sweeteners in any form. The worst one in my experience is sucralose. My first encounter with this “white death” was in the summer of 2005, when I started drinking some of the flavored waters that use it as a sweetener. It took me a couple of days to connect the violent stomach cramps and *ahem* explosive lower digestive gas with sucralose. Suffice it to say that if I eat or drink anything containing sucralose in it, within a couple of hours I’m hating life as I run to the toilet doubled over in pain every 10 minutes. So now I need to scrutinize the ingredients label of everything that I buy to make sure that it doesn’t have sucralose in it. It’s scary how many different foods have this stuff in it.

Their marketing slogan is that “It’s made from sugar”. Well gee, the synthesis also includes using phosgene to chlorinate the sucrose, so their marketing slogan could just as easily say “It’s made from a chemical warfare agent”, but I suspect that the marketing would be a bit more difficult if they were that honest.

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~ by Dave on 01/29/07.

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