Babette Gladstein, V.M.D., a New York–based veterinarian, answers.
Q: "Are artificial sweeteners toxic to pets?"
A: Xylitol—found in sugar-free gums, candies and baked goods—is highly toxic to dogs. The amount in just two pieces of gum can cause vomiting and hypoglycemia in a 20-pound dog, usually within 30 minutes.
If left untreated, this can lead to liver failure, so if you suspect your dog has eaten something containing xylitol, contact your vet immediately. Feline fans, take note: No harmful effects have been reported in cats.
From our sister publication, Diabetes Focus, Fall 2012