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Girl Scout spreads the word about a threat to pets

Photo via Amanda Loman, The World
Photo via Amanda Loman, The World

Via The World:

Xylitol. Remember that name.

Even if you forget, you'll probably be hearing a lot about it in the weeks to come, thanks to Devan Nasby, a 14-year-old Cadette Girl Scout from Hauser.

As part of the requirements for her Silver Award — the highest a Cadette can earn — Nasby has created a campaign to educate people about the danger that the artificial sweetener xylitol poses to dogs, cats and other pets.

She's developed two brochures explaining the hazard — one for vets' offices, and another for dentist's offices, where gum with xylitol is sold. She's got a trifold board and a presentation that she's hoping to give to local clubs. She's contacting local TV and radio stations. She created a Facebook page, Check For X, devoted to spreading the word. And on Thursday, she sat down with a reporter to explain this little-known hazard.

To humans, xylitol is just a sweetener — one that's often incorporated into sugar-free gum or mints because it helps strengthen tooth enamel.

But when dogs and other small animals eat xylitol, it causes their blood sugar to drop to a lethally low level. "The worst that can happen is they would either go into a coma or they would die, from just eating the smallest amount of xylitol," Nasby said.

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