For example, dogs ingesting significant amounts of gum or candies solely or largely sweetened with xylitol may develop a fairly sudden drop in blood sugar, resulting in depression, loss of coordination and seizures. These signs can develop quite rapidly, so it is important that pet owners seek veterinary treatment immediately. According to experts at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, some data also appears to point to a possible link between xylitol ingestions and the development of liver failure in dogs.
Chocolate is another treat well loved by humans that could make pets ill. Depending on the form involved, it can contain high amounts of fat and caffeine-like substances known as methylxanthines. If ingested in significant amounts, chocolate can potentially produce clinical effects ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death in severe cases.
Typically, the darker the chocolate, the higher the potential for clinical problems from methylxanthine poisoning. White chocolate has the lowest methylxanthine content, while baking chocolate contains the highest. As little as 20 ounces of milk chocolate, or only two ounces of baking chocolate can cause serious problems in a 10-pound dog. While white chocolate may not have the same potential as darker forms to cause a methylxanthine poisoning, the high fat content of lighter chocolates could still lead to vomiting and diarrhea, as well as the possible development of life-threatening pancreatitis, an inflammatory condition of the pancreas.
The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center advises pet owners avoid offering their animals food meant for human consumption, and to be especially diligent in keeping candy, gum or other foods containing chocolate or xylitol out of the reach of pets.