7-Investigates has a warning about a product that could be in your home and is so toxic to dogs it can kill them in an hour! What is it? 7’s Hank Phillippi Ryan has the answer.

This is how Tamara is used to seeing Hobbs: playful and full of energy.

But last summer, Tamara had to rush her beloved family pet to the animal hospital.

Hobbs ended up in the ICU needing emergency care, IV fluids, and medication. 

“I thought he was going to die,” Tamara said. 

What happened?

“Hobbs got into a container of gum. Then I Googled ‘my dog ate gum’ and started to panic,” Tamara said. 

The chewing gum Hobbs ate contained xylitol, a sugar substitute. 

It’s not dangerous for humans to consume, but can be devastating if a dog eats it – causing seizures, liver failure even death in a very short period of time.

“I had no idea. I was really worried,” Tamara said. 

We found emergency calls to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center about dogs poisoned by xylitol over the last few years are up nearly 40%.

“40% is a lot,” said Dr. Tina Wismer, DVM, the director of toxicology for the ASPCA Poison Control Center.

Hobbs is one of thousands of dogs poisoned by the substance.

“This is definitely something that dog owners need to have on their radars,” Dr. Wismer said. 

And it’s not just gum or candy you have to worry about.

Xylitol may also be in foods like peanut butter, ketchup, baked goods, toothpaste, vitamins, and sugar-free products. 

You may miss it even if you check the label – xylitol can also be called birch sugar, birch bark extract, or wood sugar.

“It is really surprising the wide range of products that we find xylitol in. Sometimes it’s not in the active ingredients. Sometimes it’s listed in the inactive ingredients,” Dr. Wismer said. 

We found one gum brand does say on the label: “Xylitol is not safe for dogs.” 

But products with Xylitol are not required to have warning labels.

Symptoms of xylitol poisoning include vomiting, seizures, tremors, and difficulty walking or standing.

Tamara It was extremely traumatic. It was definitely the scariest thing that I’ve gone through.

Hobbs spent 24 hours in the ER. He’s OK now. And to keep him that way Tamara doesn’t bring anything with xylitol into her home. 

“We feel very lucky that he survived it,” Tamara said. 

If you’re a cat owner and are wondering what this means for your pet – the FDA says xylitol doesn’t seem to be dangerous for cats. 

If you think your dog has eaten something with xylitol call your veterinarian, animal hospital or animal poison control center immediately. 

For more information:

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center 

ASPCA Xylitol Safety Warning: How to Protect Your Pets 

FDA Warning Xylitol and Dogs  

FDA Xylitol is Dangerous to Dogs Warning Poster 

Paws Off Act of 2021 

If you have a tip or story idea please email Tell7@whdh.com 

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