Nosy noses don't always know what's safe and, while even most of my nondog owning pals know the risks of chocolate, not everyone realizes the dangers of chewing gum. While this can lodge in a pet's throat (especially if ingested paper, packaging and all), those sugar-free products are pure poison to pets.

The not-so-sweet alternative known as xylitol can cause liver failure and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), which can lead to depression, loss of coordination, and even seizures in your furry friends. TeamSugar member hanako66 shared a scary story of what happened when she fell asleep on the couch and her pups were able to knock down her purse and spill the contents. Hear the tale from her mouth when you


Luckily, I had read about the dangers of sugar substitutes for dogs so when I noticed a chewed up, empty package of gum, I was concerned. I quickly googled "my dog ate gum" and instantly found enough info to warrant a call to the emergency vet. They asked if the gum had xylitol in the ingredients, which it did. I rushed Bailey and Jager to the vet and they induced vomiting.

Turns out that only Bailey had ingested gum. They did blood work, which showed that she was stable enough to go home with me, but I needed to feed her constantly the next day to make sure that her blood sugar level stayed high. Please let PetSugar readers know about the dangers of xylitol so that they can react as quickly as I did – had I known quite how serious it was before, I would never have purchased the gum in the first place.

If you suspect your pet has ingested any products containing this substance (or any other risky or questionable substances), please contact your local veterinarian or the ASPCA 24-hour emergency poison hotline directly at 1-888-426-4435.