It is not news that Xylitol is toxic to pets, but far too few dog parents know this and are not aware that Xylitol is used in many places that one would never expect.
A few weeks ago friends lost their dog when the dog accidentally ingested a piece of gum that contained Xylitol. Even though they immediately took the dog to the emergency veterinary clinic, the dog did not survive. As I write this article, another friend’s dog is at the vet’s after ingesting several pieces of gum containing Xylitol.
I want to spread the word about Xylitol and the danger it poses to our furry friends. Please help spread the word!
Xylitol is sugar-alcohol derived from plants and used as an artificial sweetener. While safe for human consumption, xylitol is very toxic to dogs. Xylitol can be found in; gum, candy, jam, syrup, baking mixes, protein bars, energy bars, flavored waters, drink powders, chocolate, gelatin and pudding mixes, condiments, ice cream, honey, yogurt, peanut butter, other nut butters, and other food products. While our dogs are not fed most of the items on this list, I know many people who use both peanut butter and yogurt as a treat. It is essential to check the ingredients label on products you purchase because sadly products containing Xylitol do not bear a large red warning label that says “Xylitol is toxic to dogs!”.
While Xylitol is usually listed as “Xylitol” on a products ingredient panel, it may also be listed as “sugar-alcohols.” When examining a label for Xylitol do so very carefully, and just because Xylitol was not an ingredient last time, do not presume it has not been added the next time you purchase the product. Your dog’s life may depend on it.
In addition to being used in food, Xylitol may be found in OTC medicines and vitamins, nasal sprays, prescription medications, cosmetics, and dental products. Because of its anti-microbial properties, Xylitol may also be found in athletic clothing and pacifier and bottle wipes. This link leads to the Preventive Vet website and a comprehensive list of products containing Xylitol.< Click to read >
Even though we do not routinely give our dogs products containing xylitol, it is essential that we recognize that a dog is an opportunistic scavenger and will often chew and consume many things that are not good for them. Just because that tube of xylitol-containing toothpaste is on the bathroom counter does not mean your dog cannot get to it.
Symptoms of Xylitol poisoning
When a dog ingests xylitol, it causes a massive release of insulin which in turn can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and acute hepatic necrosis (severe liver failure). Symptoms of xylitol poisoning include:
- A racing heart rate
- Abnormal mentation (disoriented, stuporous, or comatose)
- Acute collapse
- Black-tarry stool
- Clotting problems
- Jaundiced gums
- Trembling or tremoring
- Walking drunk
- Weakness or lethargy
URGENT! – HEALTH ALERT – Don’t Feed Nut Butters to Dogs Without First Checking for Xylitol! – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/08/19/urgent-health-alert-dont-feed-nut-butters-to-dogs-without-first-checking-for-xylitol/
Pet Poison Hotline – http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/xylitol/
©9MAR18, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
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