According to this article on Salon.com, there are things you can eat, in normal doses that you should make sure that your pets don’t get into. One thing that will cause problems is related to the topics we discuss here in our food and nutrition blog…
1. Xylitol. One of the more ubiquitous sweeteners in sugar-free products, xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol found in the fibers of many fruits, vegetables and mushrooms. It’s typically extracted from hardwoods and corn cobs for commercial use and found in sugarless gum, toothpaste and many low-calorie baked goods.
While xylitol has no known toxicity in humans, just a few sticks of sugar-free gum scavenged by a 20-pound dog can cause its insulin levels to spike and send it into hypoglycemia. Ingesting higher amounts of xylitol can create serious liver problems including acute hepatic necrosis, leading to death. Cats are also susceptible to xylitol poisoning.
Sometimes vomiting occurs soon after ingestion, followed by hypoglycemia within the next hour. At this point, the animal may act lethargic and lose coordination as a result of lowered sugar levels. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few short days.
If caught within the first few hours and taken to a veterinary clinic, many pets can be nursed back to health by inducing vomiting and perhaps the administration of dextrose.
I recall writing a few weeks back about the emerging evidence that artificial sweeteners are guilty of causing diabetes and insulin resistance just like sugars are. This is undoubtedly related to that. In fact, if food additives required scientific testing before being approved, maybe we would not be eating and drinking xylitol when it started killing lab dogs and lab rats. This chemical may have never even made it to the human trial phase of the approval process.
I just love how in the article they say that xylitol has no ‘known’ toxicity in humans. I know why they don’t know wether there is a toxic level. They haven’t ever looked.
None of the ingredients in your foods are exposed to scientific scrutiny like this. This fact is the primary justification for not eating any processed foods. Lots of times the artificial ingredients are not actually listed on the label, they are lumped together under ‘artificial flavors’ or similar weasel words. Not that it would matter if they put the actual scientific or trade name on the label. Without any knowledge about what these chemicals do inside a human body what difference to know that it is or is not in your food?
Don’t give your pets anything with artificial sweetener in it. They are much smaller than you are physically and something that won’t kill you because the dose is too small, might just kill or sicken them because they are so much littler.