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Popular artificial sweetener could be 100 times more toxic than chocolate for dogs

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WALDO, Mo. -- Pet owners have all heard to keep chocolate away from our pets, but now vets are cautioning owners about a popular artificial sweetener that is 100 times more toxic than milk chocolate.

It is called Xylitol and it is most often found in sugar-free gum or artificially sweetened candy.

The number of products that contains this chemical is growing and so are the number of dog poisonings.

In fact, the ASPCA reports there were 3,700 cases last year, which is up from just 82 cases in 2014.

The chemical can also be deadly because it has been linked to causing low blood sugar, liver failure and severe brain damage.

“They gave us a phone call saying her kidney tests weren't good, and that they were shutting down and that we didn't really have any other choice but to put her down,” says Samantha Caress, whose dog at sugar-free gum.

Veterinarians say the chemical causes a drop in blood sugar and a surge in insulin which causes the problem. They say the best way to avoid it is to keep all sugar-free products well out of reach.

“During the holidays, Halloween, through the holidays and so forth there are a lot of Xylitol products lying around that can cause a big problem.” Veterinarian Dan Thompson said.

Some animal welfare groups say not enough people know about Xylitol and the dangerous effects it can have on dogs. Many of them are calling for warning labels to be placed on products containing the chemical.