Don’t treat your dog to sugar-free snacks


With Valentine’s Day tomorrow, there’s a new warning for pet owners. Dr. Wendy King of Spears Creek Veterinary Clinic says sugar-free chocolate can be toxic to your pets.

Sugar-free products contain “sugar alcohols” like xylitol, a common sweetener which causes blood sugar levels in dogs to drop to dangerous levels.

Other sugar alcohols include sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol, erythritol, hydrogenated starch hydrolysates. All should be avoided when giving anything to dogs.

Milk chocolate is bad for dogs and dark chocolate is even worse, but sugar-free chocolate is the worst of the bunch. It’s the most common cause of xylitol poisoning and xylitol can also be found in sugar-free gum as well.

If you need to get your dog to take a pill, Dr. King recommends you hide it in a marshmallow or in peanut-butter, but be very careful it’s not sugar-free peanut butter which is on grocery store shelves much more often now. In fact, Dr. King says to ensure any human treat you give a dog does not contain any sugar alcohols as the sweetener. Besides blood sugar level drops, it also can cause vomiting, loss of coordination, seizures and liver failure.

Dr. King says new Valentine’s Day toys, hugs, pats or walks in the park make for much better and safer treats for our dogs.

Not to exclude mentioning our feline friends, but cats don’t have the requisite taste buds for sweet foods, so they most likely will not nibble on these kinds of treats. It’s just not attractive to them, but to be safe, you shouldn’t leave treats out where any pets can get to them.

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