If your dog is feeling bummed about not being able to eat chocolate anymore, here’s some exciting news: It’s no longer allowed to eat candy as well! Xylitol is a sugar alcohol commonly added to sweets such as chewing gum and candy as a low-calorie sugar substitute (making it a popular choice for diabetics). When ingested by dogs, however, xylitol triggers a large release of insulin, a compound that induces cells to take up sugar from the blood.
This sudden surge of insulin flowing into cells can result in a sudden decrease in the dog’s blood glucose, resulting in a condition known as hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Symptoms of hypoglycemia include seizures, loss of coordination, and vomiting.
As if this wasn’t enough, Xylitol has also been implicated in canine liver failure as well. It’s best to stick to dog treats and avoid feeding your pooch any sort of candy or chewing gum. The possible choking hazard is bad enough; a bad liver and low blood sugar would not be a good way to reward your dog for doing tricks.
Pet owners know that cats love to chew on plants for no reason in particular. However, this seemingly benign habit could quickly turn into a medical emergency if lilies are brought into the mix. Various species of lilies (such as the Easter lily, tiger lily, Asiatic lily, and others) are popular household decorations—and extremely poisonous to cats.
Consumption of any part of the plant will cause symptoms such as vomiting, depression, dehydration, and abnormal urination patterns. Although the exact mechanism of toxicity is unknown, it is known that the kidney is the toxin’s primary target, and the cat may experience kidney failure if left untreated. If you own a species of lily and are unsure of its danger, check to see if it’s from the genus Lilium or the genus Hemerocallis; these contain the main toxic species.