The word “xylitol” may sound like a rare substance, but this sugar substitute can be found in almost every American household. Because xylitol is so common, we feel the need to tell you all about it to keep your pets safe. So, here it is: This sweet substance can do serious harm to unknowing pets.

What Is Xylitol?

Xylitol is frequently used as a sugar replacement. Xylitol can be found in nature in berries, corn, plums, mushrooms, trees, and other plants. But it is very often chemically created to add to common products like gummies and toothpaste.

Xylitol has been used for decades in sugarless gum and in dental products. Why? Because it fights dental plaque. But over the past decade or so, it appears on more and more ingredient lists because it’s low in calories and has a low glycemic index. Some of the most common products that contain xylitol include:

  • Candy
  • Gum
  • Pudding
  • Mouthwash
  • Chewable vitamins
  • Laxatives
  • Digestive medicine
  • Allergy medicine
  • Pain relievers

It can be listed on ingredients as “sugar alcohol.” It can also be called birch sugar, E967, meso-xylitol, sucre de bouleau, pentol, xylo-pentane.

How Does Xylitol Affect Dogs?

While xylitol is perfectly safe for you and your family, it’s extremely toxic for dogs. It’s also dangerous for cats, although cats are more suspicious and picky when it comes to what they’ll eat.

Even in the smallest amounts, xylitol can cause an extreme drop in your dog’s blood sugar, severe seizures, liver failure, and death. These symptoms can occur with ten minutes of your dog eating this substance.

When we eat xylitol, our bodies respond by producing insulin. But when dogs eat xylitol, their bodies rapidly absorb it into their bloodstreams causing an intense and immediate release of insulin. This, in turn, makes their blood sugar drop with dangerous results.

Symptoms of Xylitol Poisoning

  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty standing or walking
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness and muscle tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Xylitol poisoning can result in permanent damage to your dog’s vital organs. From liver failure to pancreatic issues, this sweet substance is deadly.

What Can You Do to Protect Your Pets?

Keep any products that may have xylitol out of reach of your pets. This means Halloween candy and the upcoming Thanksgiving treats. Ask guests to refrain from handouts for your dog or cat since these can be potentially dangerous. And if you’re expecting guests this holiday season, request that they keep their toiletry bags zipped and stored where your dog or cat won’t find them.

What Should You Do if Your Dog or Cat Eats Something with Xylitol?

Call us immediately. Time is of the essence if your pet eats a food or other substance containing xylitol.

Xylitol Poisoning is Deadly: Don’t Let This Sweetener Take Your Dog

Please be cautious this time of year when it comes to what your dog or cat eats. Avoid handouts or leaving any products that may contain xylitol within paws’ reach. When it comes to xylitol poisoning, prevention will save your dog’s life.



Photo Credit: Pixabay