I’ve read that Xylitol is very dangerous for my dog, but what about other artificial sweeteners? Are they also dangerous? In what ways? – Sweet N. R.
Dear SNR: Yes, Xylitol is NOT to be consumed by dogs in any amount. It is not only dangerous but has been proven to be fatal. Let me preface my answer by saying that it is healthier for dogs to have a diet free of sweets, and especially artificial sweeteners, but of course, family pets are exposed to a wide variety of foods, and sometimes accidents may happen.
This list of common artificial sweeteners below will help you decipher what is dangerous and safe. Remember to always READ THE LABELS of the food in your home. Often times, dangerous ingredients such as Xylitol are found in products you wouldn’t expect.
This naturally produced sweetener is found in many “sugar-free” items such as ice cream, candies, pastries, gums, yogurts, juices and more. Xylitol is HIGHLY TOXIC and potentially fatal if consumed. Even in small doses, it can cause seizures, liver failure, and death.
This non-caloric sugar alcohol is considered safe for dogs but in large quantities, gastrointestinal symptoms may occur.
Stevia (green packet)
This is a naturally produced sweetener from the stevia plant. Stevia is safe for dogs to consume, but in large quantities, it can cause diarrhea.
Aspartame (blue packet)
There are no serious health effects aside from minor gastrointestinal problems. That being said, it is in no way a healthy product for dogs to consume.
Saccharin (pink packet)
Saccharin is safe for dogs, but can cause gastrointestinal issues, and long-term effects have not yet been tested on pets.
Sucralose (yellow packet)
Sucralose is generally safe, but can cause diarrhea in dogs.
Monk fruit is a newer sweetener on the market. It is similar Stevia, and generally safe if consumed by dogs.
As an experienced veterinarian, I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind you that dogs should not have any sweets (artificial or otherwise) in their diets, and that dangerous sweeteners such as Xylitol are found in many common food and non-food items such as mouthwash, chewing gum, and toothpaste. Always be extra careful about what goes in your dog’s mouth, and have a contingency plan prepared in case of emergency.