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Bend woman says mints nearly killed her dog


In the last few years, more and more dogs are being sent to the vet after getting into a toxic ingredient that’s found in sugar-free mints and gum. One Bend family’s dog has been fighting for his life in recent days after eating a few mints.

Leah VanVactor said Thursday her dog, Murphy, ate a few mints she purchased from her dentist. The mints contained Xylitol, a sugar substitute found in many sugar free, weight loss and dental products.

While Xylitol is safe for humans, it can be deadly for dogs.

“Within 30 minutes, he was having convulsions and was having what seemed like seizures,” VanVactor said.

They rushed him to the vet, who said Murphy looked like he had been poisoned. The vet immediately pumped his stomach.

“I’ve had labs that have eaten a candy bar before and it doesn’t put them in the hospital. This dog ate a couple mints, and he still may not be okay,” VanVactor said.

“Xylitol is definitely more toxic to dogs than chocolate,” said Dr. Chad Moles veterinarian and owner of Blue Sky Veterinary Clinic in Bend.

“Xylitol is found is many products like sugar-free gum, sugar-free mints. and some people cook with it in a straight powder form, for diabetic management,” Moles said.

Murphy spent Monday through Wednesday at the vet, recovering. VanVactor is now sharing Murphy’s story in an effort to prevent this from happening to other dogs.

While safe for humans, Moles said Xylitol is toxic for dogs — even in small quantities. He said it can cause liver failure, and ultimately lead to death. In the last five years, he said he’s seen an increase in Xylitol poisoning cases.

VanVactor said she’s frustrated that there’s no warning labels on Xylitol products.

“There’s definitely not enough public knowledge about Xylitol,” Moles said. “Food manufactures aren’t required to put it on their labeling because they’re not trying to sell to dogs.”

Fortunately Murphy is expected to recover, but there’s a good chance he will have liver damage as a result.

Moles says signs of Xylitol ingestion can show up anywhere between 30 minutes and 12 hours and if you think that your dog has ingested Xylitol you should immediately take him to the vet.

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