FDA warns of xylitol dangers to dogs, ferrets

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The Food and Drug Administration issued a notice in mid-February cautioning consumers about the risks of consumption of xylitol by dogs and ferrets.

Xylitol, a sugar alcohol, is a common ingredient in sugar-free products such as sugar-free candy, chewing gum, baked goods, and oral hygiene products. It is available for purchase in bulk bags for use in home baking. Xylitol also is an ingredient in many over-the-counter human drugs, such as chewable vitamins and throat lozenges and sprays.

The FDA is aware of complaints involving dogs that experienced illness in association with accidental consumption of xylitol. Xylitol is safe for humans but can be harmful to dogs and ferrets.