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12 Days of Holiday Hazards...Day 9

12/08/2008

On the ninth day of the holidays, my true love gave to me...CANDY

At this point, I think most people know that chocolate is toxic to dogs. The usual mistake these days isn't owners giving their dogs chocolate, but owners underestimating how much trouble dogs will go to in order to eat chocolate. Just like the rest of us, the fact that something is bad for them doesn't stop dogs from craving it, so keep chocolate and chocolate desserts under lock and key to protect your canine companion from himself.

So, we all know about chocolate, but there's a new guy in town now, who is even more dangerous to your dog. His name is xylitol, and he's hiding everywhere.

What the heck is xylitol, you ask? It's an artificial sweetener that can be found all over the place if you look hard enough. It's in that pack of gum in your purse; it's in that candy in the dish on your coffee table. It's in those low-cal cupcakes, and is even sold as a substitute for sugar to use when baking at home.

Turns out that unfortunately xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs. It causes seizures, low blood sugar, and liver failure. It can be fatal. So if you've got gum in your purse, put it away on a high shelf in the closet - with the door closed. If you have desserts containing xylitol around your home, make sure everyone in the family knows those desserts present a danger to the dog - and keep those sweets where even the most enterprising canine can't reach.

A piece of candy, a  little cupcake - they seem so innocent. But if they contain xylitol, for your dog they're poison. So check those ingredients, and read the fine print. Because taking Fido to the emergency room isn't sweet - not at all.

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