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AKC thanks Congressman David Schweikert for introducing H.R. 5261 to require that food products containing xylitol or “birch sugar” be labeled to warn of the sweetener’s toxic effects on dogs.

AKC urges responsible dog owners to contact their member of Congress and ask them to support this positive bill.


HR 5261, called the “Paws Off Act”, amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to deem foods containing xylitol as misbranded unless the label or labeling of such foods contains a warning specifying the toxic effects of xylitol on dogs if ingested.  Xylitol (or “birch sugar”) is a chemical compound most commonly used as a sugar substitute in chewing gum, dental products, peanut butter, baked goods, and other human food.

Xylitol is harmful to dogs because, unlike humans, it is quickly absorbed in the bloodstream and may result in a sudden release of insulin from the pancreas. The rapid release of insulin into a dog’s bloodstream may cause hypoglycemia.  In dogs, this may occur within 10 – 60 minutes of ingestion of xylitol and if untreated, can quickly be life-threatening.

For more information view the U.S. Food & Drug Administration resources about Xylitol.

What You Can Do:

Please contact your member of Congress. Ask them to support or consider co-sponsoring HR 5261, the “Paws Off Act”, to require that food products in the U.S. containing xylitol include a warning label about the toxic and potentially deadly effects of xylitol on dogs. 

You can visit our campaign on this issue here,  or visit AKC’s Legislative Action Center and type your address in the “Find Your Elected Officials” box to find out who represents you and get their contact information.

Thank you for your actions to protect the safety of U.S. household pets.

For questions or more information, contact, visit or contact 919-816-3720.