People Food for Pets

Image of dog sitting by a person's feet.

On a low carb diet? Planning on sharing some of those low calorie dessert treats with your canine friends? STOP! That sugar-free snack you think is good for you and your dog could actually send you to the veterinarian

The sugar substitute, Xylitol, has been a great development in the fight against tooth decay and in helping diabetics gain better control over their disease. However, this popular sweetener may be devastating to the family pet. New research now being released shows that ingestion of Xylitol by dogs can cause liver failure and even death. Reports from the ASPCA Poison Control Center show the number of Xylitol related pet exposures is on the rise and that rise has many veterinarians and pet owners concerned.

For years, veterinarians have suspected that Xylitol could make dogs sick, but an article in the October issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) has documented the outcomes of several cases of Xylitol ingestions in dogs from 2003 to 2005. Five of eight dogs died or had to be euthanized due to complications stemming from Xylitol ingestion.

Often found in human mints, sugar-free gums, toothpastes, and sweets, Xylitol, has been a popular sugar substitute since the 1960s. However, researchers found that even small amounts of Xylitol can cause liver damage and even death in dogs.

Dogs that ingest large amounts of Xylitol have sudden and profound drops in blood sugar levels, leading to weakness and uncoordinated movements. Occasionally, seizures may be seen as well. However, even small amounts of Xylitol are not safe. As little as 1 gram of Xylitol can set off a chain of events leading to liver damage. A dog could receive this amount in just a few candies or sticks of gum containing this sugar substitute. Xylitol can also be found in children's chewable multi-vitamins, certain cough medications and even mouthwashes.

Although most pet owners routinely give some sort of "people food" to their dogs, the JAVMA report should be a wake up call, showing that many foods that are safe for humans can be harmful to pets.

Any pet owner concerned about anything their dog has ingested should seek veterinary medical attention immediately.

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  • "Words can not begin to express our gratitude for the care you had given Hunter over the years. When his time came, he watched for you to come through the door and his tail showed his affection towards you. That was most comforting having you there. Thank you.""
    ~R.H
  • ""Thank you so much for taking care of Maggie over the years. Y'all are the best and Dr. Johnson, you are the best vet in the world! God bless you all.""
    ~ J.D.
  • ""Your care for my beloved Mattie these last 10n years made her life, and mine much better….God bless each of you for all you did for us and I'm sure for all your other two and four legged patients.""
    ~E.D.
  • ""Thank you for saving my life." ~T.C."
    ~T.C.
  • ""I can not express how grateful I am for you and your staff… I appreciate everything you did in Beckham's treatment. He was so lucky to have such a wonderful doctor on his side. Thank you for all you do for the benefit of all our beloved pets.""
    ~L.B.
  • ""Dr. Johnson - There are no words that can truly capture your kindness.""
    ~G.B.
  • ""Thank you for the great care you took of Taco and the rest of our family. He is doing great now! He is enjoying running and playing with all four legs again.""
    ~W.C
  • ""People who avail themselves of your services at the clinic certainly are blessed to have such a caring staff....bless you and your devoted staff.""
    ~E.D.
  • ""A sincere thank you for taking such good care of Dulce. We are so thrilled that she is back to her normal self. You gave her the support and care she needed in her darkest hours and kept us confident in her recovery.""
  • ""Just to say how much we appreciate all of you. You all are wonderful people. We feel blessed to have our beloved furry children in your care when they need it. Your professional knowledge and your acts of kindness have a beautiful act all it's own. You are a great vet, compassionate and everything good all in one. You are in our daily prayers.""
    ~T.F.
  • ""Thank you and all of your staff for the excellent care you gave to my wonderful Abbey, who was so much a part of the family. Thank you for all the advice and support you gave to me these last few months. I don't know how I would have gotten through this without your constant support. I will, and I have highly recommended you to family and friends, as I feel you are the best!""
    ~P.B.
  • ""Thank you for taking care of my kitty, Slingshot. He is feeling better and better. My Paw-Paw said that you took extra special care of him and I really appreciate it. So, thank you again for taking care of my cat.""
    ~T.B. (age 6)
  • ""Dr. Johnson, I don't know why you decided to move here from your home in New Jersey, but I absolutely believe it was so you could help me and Mickey. I know coming to someone's home is not what a typical veterinarian would do, but you are obviously an extraordinary man in a world filled with ordinary men….On top of that, your sensitive and wonderful handwritten note arrived and touched my heart…You are one of those quiet, unheralded champions who make life easier for everyone you touch.""
    ~C.W.
  • ""Thank you so much for taking care of Lola when she had her reaction, and your office was already closed. I know you took time away from yourself and your family and I really appreciate it.""
    ~R.M.
  • ""Thank you for giving me more time with my best friend. We are all so grateful.""
    ~A.M.
  • ""Thank you for all of your support for Maxine during her illness. All was very much appreciated and will always be remembered. I have related to all my friends of what a great doctor and staff at Birdneck Animal Hospital.""
    ~O.B.
  • ""Thank you for taking such good care of me over the last 4 years. I am doing well and both legs and feet feel great. You sis an awesome job on me Dr. Johnson, and I'm gonna have a great year this year and I hope to see you only for my check up. You guys are the best!""
    ~Budkus
  • "We can't thank you enough for the wonderful and loving care you gave to"Budkus" while he was in your care. He was so little and so sick and we were so scared for him. Each and every one of the staff members made us feel like we had the only dog in the world. Like nothing else mattered except getting "Budkus" well again. Our deepest gratitude to all of you for the excellent care and attention we received, for your encouragement, comfort, and understanding, and most importantly for saving his life! Thank you so much.""
    ~ J.,B.,C.