Keep xylitol away from your dog

A warning about xylitol, the sugar substitute that's used in some sugar-free gum, mints, candy, baked goods and ice cream.

The FDA says xylitol is safe for humans, but it can be harmful - sometimes fatal - to dogs and ferrets.

"It's severely toxic in certain doses and not very high doses," syas Dr. Brad Crauer, medical director at the Seattle Humane Society.

Crauer says when these guys eat xylitol, they can get hypoglycemia, a sudden drop in blood sugar. The xylitol can cause seizures, tremors, weakness, collapse, and in extreme cases: liver failure.

"It doesn't take more than a couple of sticks of gum to really cause some problems."

So keep the sugar-free goodies sweetened with xylitol out of reach.

The signs of illness may occur within minutes to days after your pet ingests xylitol: depression, loss of coordination and vomiting.

If you ever suspect your critter has gotten into something containing the sweetener xylitol, don't delay; call your vet right away.

For more information

Human Foods That Are Dangerous to Dogs and Cats