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November 01, 2021

AVMA backs bill to require warning label on products containing xylitol

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The AVMA in September announced its endorsement of the federal Paws Off Act (HR 5261), which would require products containing the sugar substitute xylitol to include a warning label specifying its toxic effects to dogs.

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener used in everyday products and is frequently not listed on the ingredient label. Most often found in sugar-free gum and breath mints, xylitol may also be present in vitamins, cough drops, sugar-free desserts, mouthwash, toothpaste, and other household items.

Xylitol poisoning calls have increased dramatically over the past 15 years, according to the Animal Poison Control Center of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Just over 200 xylitol-related calls were registered in 2005 compared with 6,760 in 2018.

U.S. Reps. David Schweikert, a Republican from Arizona, and Greg Stanton, a Democrat from Arizona, introduced the Paws Off Act in the U.S. House of Representatives on Sept. 14.

“Despite the deadly harm xylitol presents to dogs and other pets, it is frequently not listed in the ingredient label in products we use on an everyday basis,” AVMA President José Arce said in a press release. “We must enact the Paws Off Act of 2021 to inform the public about which products contain the artificial sweetener and the poisonous effect it has on our pets.”