Quiz: Holiday myths debunked
You chose myth: Correct!
Myth: While chocolate definitely is on the naughty list for pets, so are baked goods. First, yeast-bread dough can result in a bowel obstruction or a bloated or distended stomach in pets. Second, Xylitol, a common sugar-substitute used in baked goods, candies, and sugar-free chewing gum can be fatal to dogs. (Note: While Xylitol is poisonous to dogs in quantities found in human candies and chewing gum, it is used in some human and pet dental products to help prevent tooth decay. The amount of xylitol typically found in most pet oral-care products is very small and, when used properly, is not expected to cause poisoning unless the dog ingests a very large amount.)
Threat to pets: Xylitol may cause a life-threatening drop in blood sugar and can cause liver damage to dogs. Cats and people do not experience this problem. The typical dose needed to cause poisoning is at least 0.05 grams per pound of body weight.
Signs: Within 10 to 15 minutes of ingestion, dogs may develop hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), lose coordination, and start vomiting. Collapse and seizures may quickly follow. In rare cases, these signs won’t appear until hours after ingestion.
Treatment: Promptly induce vomiting or perform a gastric lavage. Administer intravenous dextrose (sugar) and fluids and frequently monitor blood sugar levels and liver values.
Prognosis: Excellent when the ingestion is caught early and blood sugars are monitored frequently. Guarded if the pet has already begun to develop liver failure.