Officials Warn Dog Owners About Danger of Sugar Substitute

September 9, 2017 10:00 am · 22 comments

The death of a dog that ate a cupcake that contains a sugar substitute known as xylitol has prompted officials with the city of Alameda to issue an alert about the sweetener.

City officials said that on Monday, Benny, a two-year-old dog, ate a cupcake containing xylitol that his owners had left in their compost and passed away.

Alameda officials said Benny’s family is heartbroken and wants to make sure that other dog owners are aware of the dangers of the sweetener, which they described as poison.

The city said that according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, when dogs eat something that contains xylitol it gets absorbed more quickly into the bloodstream and may result in a potent release of insulin from the pancreas, which can be life-threatening.

City officials said xylitol is a sugar substitute that can be found in products including gum, chocolate, mints, baked goods, cough syrup, vitamins, mouthwash and toothpaste.

Dr. Michael Miller at the Providence Veterinary Hospital & Clinic in Alameda said, “Keep a close eye on ingredient lists of household products.

The sugar substitute xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs and is being added to a longer and longer list of products, including chewing gum, breath mints, peanut butter and even nasal sprays.”

Miller said, “It’s best to avoid xylitol completely and use other sugar substitutes. If you cannot avoid using products containing xylitol, then make absolutely sure they are stored safely out of reach of your pets.”

According to the FDA, symptoms of xylitol poisoning in dogs include vomiting, followed by symptoms associated with the sudden lowering of a dog’s blood sugar, such as decreased activity, weakness, staggering, lack of coordination, collapse and seizures.

FDA officials said dog owners who think their dogs have eaten xylitol should take them to their vet or an emergency animal hospital immediately.

George September 9, 2017 at 11:46 AM

all Peanut Butter? The ingredient label on Jif peanut butter just says “Sugars”. It appears the FDA doesn’t require the product maker to list the types of sugars.

Chicken Little September 9, 2017 at 12:18 PM

Xylitol is a sugar substitute, not a sugar. If it’s in peanut butter, it should be listed separately in the ingredients.

Muddhen September 9, 2017 at 12:22 PM

Pets should eat pet food.

American made pet food.

Strad September 9, 2017 at 12:31 PM

If this wasn’t home made ,it would be helpful if they would identify the brand

Ruser September 9, 2017 at 1:20 PM

If it’s that bad – then people probably shouldn’t eat it either! It makes my husband gassy. I’m not a big fan of sugar substitutes. I happen to be extremely allergic to agave. It gives me hives, and makes my hands swell – like two balloons. Stay safe people! And prayers sent to the grieving pet owners.

Dee September 9, 2017 at 1:25 PM

We use Skippy peanut butter as it is “sugars” on the label. Believe me we have been checking for this for over a year as this is not really new news. But I do think that ANYTHING that has this stuff in it should be marked in very large letters since it is so deadly to our furry friends

Mary Fouts September 9, 2017 at 1:26 PM

Chicken Little is correct. If Xylitol is an ingredient in a purchased product, it will be specifically identified on the ingredients label.

One word of caution/labeling exception: For those of you who have pets and also consume marijuana-infused edibles, including marijuana-infused brownies, marijuana edibles in California are not required to have a non-marijuana ingredient list. Marijuana brownies are sometimes made with Xylitol for a sweetener, as it has a longer shelf life than ordinary sugar. If your dog eats a marijuana brownie, he gets a triple toxic whammy of Xylitol, chocolate, and marijuana. Be sure to keep all such edibles completely out of pets’ reach.

inmotion September 9, 2017 at 1:33 PM

Modern day sugar is poison, if it kills dogs imagine what chemical sugar does to humans, specially kids. There’s sugar on everything we eat, it’s not fat that makes people gain weight, it’s sugar. Google it.

Anon Today September 9, 2017 at 1:50 PM

Why does peanut butter need sweetener? It’s fine Au Natural!

Fred September 9, 2017 at 2:59 PM

The dog would be alive if they use regular sugar like back in the old days not something special and politically correct

Silva September 9, 2017 at 3:08 PM

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol, it’s normally an ingredient in “sugar free” or “diet” foods, candies, and chewing gums, etc. I’ve never seen it on any labels that weren’t “reduced calorie” or “reduced sugar” foods. It’s seemingly harmless to humans, it isn’t absorbed well in our guts, but it can give some people a case of the trots.

Shoulda Coulda September 9, 2017 at 3:19 PM

@ inmotion

If you don’t think fat makes people gain
weight, have you ever heard of a deep
fried diet plan. Too many calories of
anything will cause you to plump up.

Silva September 9, 2017 at 3:29 PM

Certain brands of peanut butters such as Jiff and Skippy have traditionally had additives to make it less expensive to produce, and sugar for little kids pallets. There’s no good reason to pay more for additives we can’t pronounce, and sugar. Reading labels can often be an eye opener. Trader Joe’s has 100% PB for more reasonable prices than some places.

JazzMan September 9, 2017 at 7:56 PM

With 2 diabetics in my family, I’m not going to use regular sugar. I’ll take my chances w substitutes. The lesser of two evils.

grandmato3 September 10, 2017 at 6:59 AM

This is very sad to read and should be informative to those of us with dogs.

@#10 – None of us know why they had cupcakes with a sugar substitute, maybe diabetic in the family or some other medical reason. You complete lack of compassion stinks.

kendall September 10, 2017 at 7:35 AM

Peanut butter doesn’t need sugar. Just put it on bread with Jelly. Or add sugar. Companies that add sugars to their peanut butters are undermining what should be a healthy food. Oh, and they shouldn’t have hydrogenated fats, either. Try Laura Scudders or any of the other all natural PBs.

Bad Nombre September 10, 2017 at 8:22 AM

Ruser, agave isn’t any more of a sugar substitute than honey or sorghum molasses, for example. Must be something other than the sugars in agave that cause allergies.

smylingjay September 10, 2017 at 10:31 AM

I feel awful for this family. We all need to show compassion. Similar things could happen to any of us. Dogs get into trash, swallow things they shouldn’t — accidents happen even with the best of owners (same with children getting injured in their parents’ care). Condolences on their loss. May they find it in their hearts to adopt another dog in the future. Perhaps rescue one evacuated from Harvey and Irma hurrcianes ♡

Anon September 10, 2017 at 3:06 PM

smylingjay well said. Compassion and condolences to this poor family who lost their beloved pooch.

Mel September 10, 2017 at 5:16 PM

Or, people can just stop treating their dogs like people. They are not people; stop feeding them people food. Keep stuff away from them that you do not want them to have.

You're Fired! September 11, 2017 at 7:53 AM

Very sad that this family had to lose their beloved pet because of this. Frankly, I’ll take my chances with good old-fashioned sweeteners, like maple syrup, molasses, and the reliable cane sugar, thank you very much. They are vegetable based and have a remarkably long history upon which to draw conclusions about their effects and effectiveness. Using less of them never hurts. Why put anything artificial in your food when a more natural version is available? Honestly, it just seems like common sense to me.

And, Peanut Butter? I’ve always avoided it because it seems too much like a dessert to me. We rarely had it around when I was growing up. Seems like a pointless food, if you can even call something a “food” that has to be “doctored” with oils and sugar to make it edible. In the same category as hot dogs — the “why” category. But, I can develop a taste for anything that is forced on me, if I’m hungry enough.

Shanon September 13, 2017 at 9:56 AM

NO ONE should eat sugar substitutes !! It’s a packet of chemicals!
Why would u wanna ingest made up crap over a little REAL sugar
Very sad for little dog and his family

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