WSB’s Zach Klein nearly loses dog after it eats chewing gum

Some chewing gums contain xylitol, which is highly toxic for canines

WSB’s Zach Klein had a harrowing weekend, and he wants to warn others so they don’t go through what his family did.

Klein, the television station’s sports director, tweeted Tuesday that his family nearly lost their dog, Chewy.

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“Chewy got into gum that has the ingredient Xylitol, which is EXTREMELY poisonous for dogs and caused Chewy to have a seizure,” Klein wrote.

Xylitol is a sweetener that looks and tastes like sugar but has fewer calories and doesn’t raise blood sugar levels.

It’s often used in sugar-free chewing gums, candies and mints. Because it is found in small amounts in many fruits and vegetables, writes, it considered natural. Humans even produce small quantities of it via normal metabolism.

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Why is xylitol so dangerous for dogs and not people?

Xylitol belongs to a class of sweetener known as sugar alcohols. Because a human’s small intestine doesn’t absorb sugar alcohols well, fewer calories get into the body. Xylitol also doesn’t cause cavities. People absorb xylitol slowly, so ithas no measurable effect on insulin production.

In dogs, however, xylitol has a very different effect.

A dog’s system will mistake xylitol for glucose and start producing large amounts of insulin. The dog’s cells will then start absorbing glucose from the bloodstream, which can lead to hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, and even death. Xylitol can also effect liver function in dogs, with high doses causing liver failure.

Klein rushed Chewy to the vet when the dog started having seizures.

“After 48 hours that were touch and go in terms of his liver damage, we have him home now with no apparent residual damage,” Klein tweeted.

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Xylitol isn’t the only thing humans ingest that can be dangerous for dogs.

Alcohol can cause “vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death,” according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Chocolate, coffee and caffeine contain methylxanthines. When ingested by pets, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Note that darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines, while baking chocolate contains the highest.”

Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure for dogs. Even a small amount can make a dog ill, according to Vomiting is an early symptom, followed by depression and low energy.

Onions, chives and, to a lesser extent, garlic can cause anemia and damage red blood cells. No matter what form they’re in (dry, raw, cooked, powder, within other foods), onions are some of the absolute worst foods you could give your pup.

For more foods you should avoid around your pet, click here.

Chewy’s story had a happy ending, and he’s now “getting lots of attention and we are SO happy,” Klein tweeted.