Is Xylitol Deadly for Dogs?

Xylitol is deadly for dogs

Is Xylitol Lethal for Dogs?

Be on the lookout for Xylitol in your kitchen and everyday items!

Our pet sitters and dog walkers are on the lookout for items containing dangerous chemicals in our clients’ homes in order to keep their pets safe. Many pet parents are unaware that Xylitol, a sugar alcohol naturally found in various plants, berries, and fungi and used in common household items, is lethal to dogs and other animals.
Originally, Xylitol was a popular sweetener used in Europe and Japan, but it has become a more popular sugar substitute in the United States. You will see it in gum, peanut butters, toothpaste, and more. Always check ingredients in human food before sharing!  It is now used in many medications, personal care products, and dental hygiene products. It is also used as a sugar substitute in a variety of food items.
Common items containing Xylitol include:
  • Peanut Butter
  • Toothpaste
  • Gum
  • Ketchup
  • Candy
  • Mouth Wash
  • Vitamins
  • Fiber Supplements
  • Breath Fresheners
  • Sunscreen
  • Pancake Syrup
  • Pudding
  • Baby Wipes
  • Makeup

As you can see, this chemical can be found in all kinds of products.

How does it affect dogs?

If a product with Xylitol is ingested a dog could suffer fatal symptoms within 72 hours or less. Species of the dog, size of the dog, and product the dog ingests are all factors that play into the length of time Xylitol takes to affect the body and severity of the symptoms.

Shortly, after consumption of Xylitol, vomiting is typical. Within 30 to 60 minutes a dog could suffer a severe drop in blood pressure, becoming hypoglycemic. In some more severe cases dogs have been reported to develop elevated liver enzyme activity, often leading to liver failure. The majority of dogs suffering liver failure either die or are humanely euthanized.

What are the symptoms of Xylitol exposure?

Symptoms after initial exposure to Xylitol come on rapidly. The main symptoms leading up to hypoglycemia and liver failure, are:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Collapse
  • Seizures

How can I prevent exposing my dog to Xylitol and what are the treatments?

The best way to prevent exposing our dogs to Xylitol is by eliminating the products we purchase with this particular substitute sugar. It is also important to be a vigilant pet owner by keeping harmful products out of reach from our pets and being aware of actions that need to be taken if exposure has occurred.

If ingestion of Xylitol does occur get your dog to a vet immediately. Typical treatment consists of a series of dextrose and fluid injections, along with a series of blood tests to check blood glucose levels, over the course of a few days. In severe instances, dogs may not survive.

Are other pets affected by Xylitol and are other sweeteners dangerous to our pets?

Besides dogs, Xylitol can have a significant effect on cows, goats, baboons, and rabbits. It is unknown if Xylitol effects cats or ferrets. To date, Xylitol is the only known sweetener to cause these dramatic drops in glucose levels and liver failure.

Prevention is key when it comes to our pets! We can be the companion they deserve and we can keep them safe by staying alert, aware, and proactive!

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