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To Stephen Ostroff, M.D., Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine at the Food and Drug Administration,
We the undersigned kindly request that the FDA require manufacturers of products containing xylitol to include on their product packaging (1) the weight of xylitol per serving, and (2) a clear alert that the xylitol in their product is hazardous to dogs. Even though these products aren’t typically intended for dogs, dogs are still getting access to and ingesting them on a daily basis [see below for numbers]. The results are often distressing, heartbreaking, and expensive for pet owners, while being debilitating and potentially fatal for the dogs.
These xylitol illnesses and deaths in dogs aren’t just a result of the highly potent insulin-stimulating effect of xylitol in this species. These tragedies happen, and happen at a rapidly increasing rate, because of a dangerous and pervasive lack of awareness of this hazard amongst the pet-owning community and general public.
As xylitol continues to be included in an ever-growing list of common household and consumer products — even including peanut butter now (a very common treat for dogs!) — increasing awareness becomes that much more important. Far too many dogs are sickened and killed by xylitol each year for this problem not to be addressed in a meaningful and effective way.
In 2011, and again in 2019, the FDA consumer warning about xylitol was a welcome acknowledgement of the hazard and a nice start. For that, we thank you. But now xylitol is even more commonplace in the market and reported cases of xylitol toxicity in dogs have steadily climbed every year since the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (ASPCA-APCC) started tracking such cases in 2007. In that initial year, ASPCA-APCC received 1,764 xylitol-related calls, whereas in 2014 they handled 3,727 xylitol calls.
That’s a 210% increase in cases and means that there’s now an average of over TEN dogs eating and being sickened or killed by xylitol every day! And these are just the cases that get called into ASPCA-APCC, there are other animal poison control hotlines and many cases either never make it to the vet or are treated by vets who don’t call animal poison control.
Based on these numbers, as well as the clinical experiences of many vets across the country and the personal experiences of many now devastated pet owners, it’s painfully clear that the 2011 FDA warning just wasn’t enough. Further action and more awareness is needed.
This is why we implore the FDA to require, without haste, that:
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Dog Lovers Everywhere
With our veterinary and marketing expertise we have spent much time and effort putting together standards, copy suggestions, and even graphical warning symbols for product packaging. These are available at no cost to those companies who are wanting to take action and provide their customers with xylitol awareness. Contact us.
We're eager and happy to help you show your corporate responsibility and concern for pets.