JOPLIN, MO.--- If you've been spending more time at the veterinarian, you're not alone.
"This time of year our business is on the upswing, it usually tapers off after Christmas," states Ben Leavens, Veterinarian.
The next 2 months are jam packed with holidays, and one of the most dangerous for pets is right around the corner.
"The biggest thing is ingestion of foods that are bad for the animal," states Leavens.
Foods like chocolate, and gum, which are commonly found in Halloween candy, can cause upset stomachs and diarrhea in dogs. This year there's one ingredient in particular that's sending more and more pets to the veterinarians office.
"Big one right now that's being used more is XYLATOL it's an artificial sweetener for foods that's very safe for humans, it's a good compound but it's very dangerous for dogs," states Leavens.
So dangerous, that doctors at Main Street Pet Care have already seen 6 cases of it in the past month, all but one were fatal. Xylitol first fools the body and it thinks the blood sugar is really high and so the body, the pancreas pumps out insulin and the blood sugar plummets so the dogs come in very weak and shaky and they can't walk. The ingredient, which is commonly found in sugar free foods, gum, and candy, quickly travels from a dogs pancreas to its liver, where the most serious damage can occur.
"Be very careful about keeping all of the sweets out of reach of the animals. The common thing is that it's left on the table and people don't think their dogs will get up on the table but they do and they check things out and if it's sweet dogs like it," states Leavens.
Doctor leavens says the spike in Xylitol poisonings isn't necessarily related to the consumption of Halloween candy, but he encourages pet owners to keep an eye on their pets as the big day approaches.