If you know dogs, you know that they can and will eat just about anything. If that something happens to taste good, it’s even more likely a dog may eat it. That makes the popularity of gummy candies, vitamins and supplements a tale of caution for doggy pet parents as many gummies can have ingredients that are toxic for dogs. But don’t worry! The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) has you covered with this list of commonly ingested gummies, their ingredients and their effects on pets.
With the legalization of marijuana in many states, the prevalence of marijuana edibles has skyrocketed, and gummies are a popular formulation. In dogs, THC can lead to excessive sleepiness, unsteadiness on the feet, overreactive to sound and light, decrease in heart rate and body temperature and changes in blood pressure.
Non-psychoactive cannabinoids, or the compounds found in the cannabis plant that are not considered psychoactive like THC, are another popular gummy. While CBD is less likely to cause serious issues, double check the label, because some CBD products may have THC in them. CBD products may cause some mild lethargy or unsteadiness on the feet and stomach upset. If you are seeing more than mild signs after your pet ingested CBD gummies, you should take them to be seen by a veterinarian.
Xylitol is a sugar substitute that can be deadly for dogs. It can be found in a wide range of products, from baked goods to gum, and even gummies. Depending on the amount ingested, xylitol can cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and liver injury in dogs. It is always best to check labels prior to bringing a new product in the house to see if it may contain xylitol, especially if you have a curious pup who likes to get into things.
Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle. It is a common OTC supplement to help people sleep and gummies are a popular method of taking melatonin. Fortunately, melatonin is not likely to be a serious hazard and may cause some drowsiness in your pet. The important thing is to check the other ingredients in the product, as xylitol is an ingredient that may be found in melatonin supplements along with other herbal ingredients.
Multivitamins and Fish Oil
What better way than to take your regular vitamin or fish oil as a small gummy treat? Keep an eye on the label for specific ingredients of concern: iron, vitamin D, and xylitol are some of the bigger troublemakers. To best protect your pets, keep these vitamins locked away.
Vitamin D may come as the only active ingredient in a gummy, or it may be found with other active ingredients. While vitamin D is considered an essential nutrient in dogs, too much can be a problem. Vitamin D also comes in a variety of strengths, so it is important to check the label. Overdoses of vitamin D can lead to increase in calcium and phosphorus levels as well as kidney injury, so it’s best to keep this vitamin well out of paw’s reach.
Iron can be found as the sole ingredient in a gummy or as part of a multivitamin. Like vitamin D, iron is an essential nutrient for dogs but if they get into too much, it can cause problems. Overdoses of iron can cause vomiting and diarrhea, it can irritate the stomach lining and lead to blood in the vomit or stool and large enough doses, though rare, may lead to liver injury.
5-HTP (5 Hydroxytryptophan)
5-HTP or 5 hydroxytryptophan is an OTC supplement that is commonly promoted for stress or anxiety relief and helps with sleep or brain support. Unfortunately, it may not take very many of these to be very serious for a pet. 5-HTP can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, depression or hyperactivity, agitation, tremors, increase in body temperature and heart rate, disorientation, unsteadiness on the feet and rigidity of the body. In some cases, 5 HTP ingestions can be fatal.
Sugar and Sugar Alcohols
We know sugar is not good for us or our pets, but in large quantities, it can be particularly dangerous to dogs. When dogs ingest large amounts of sugar, the body needs to dilute it out. It will do this by making our pets thirsty. But if there is too much sugar and not enough water, the body will pull fluid from other places to try and dilute it out. Unfortunately, when this happens, it is not good for the rest of the body and can lead to elevated sodium levels. If the sodium level gets too high, neurologic signs like unsteadiness, tremors, and in severe cases, seizures may be seen. Too much sugar or sugar substitutes like sugar alcohols (sorbitol, maltitol, mannitol, isomalt) can also cause watery diarrhea, leading to dehydration.
It’s always best to keep any form of gummies, vitamins or medications in a secure cabinet where your pet cannot reach.
If you suspect your pet may have ingested something toxic, please contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.
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