Most dog owners are familiar with the often passed around list of common foods that are toxic to dogs. Recently added to this list (but often at the bottom) is a sugar substitute called xylitol. Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs but not warned about often enough. Please take a moment to learn about xylitol as it is likely in your home.
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol naturally occurring in some plants. It's commonly used in sugar free gum for fighting plaque, but it's also a popular sugar substitute in baking, sugar free foods such as pudding and candy, and many medications. Xylitol has been around for a long time but its use has been on the rise. It ranks very low on the glycemic index making it ideal for diabetics and those following certain low carb lifestyles which have gained popularity in recent years.
In humans xylitol does not cause an insulin response like sugar does. However when dogs eat something containing xylitol, the pancreas does release insulin, and fast! A rapid release of insulin results in plummeting blood sugar levels, leading to life threatening hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia can then result in liver failure. Without immediate treatment, a dog can die within 30-60 minutes. Another notable problem with xylitol is that it only takes consumption of a very tiny amount to be fatal. Depending on the size of a dog, 2 pieces gum or one baked good could cause severe hypoglycemia or liver failure.
Symptoms of xylitol toxicity develop quickly after consumption and include confusion, ataxia, vomiting, seizures and unresponsiveness. If your dog has eaten anything it wasn't supposed to, ALWAYS check the ingredients for xylitol. The most common culprit of toxicity is gum. It gets left around the house by children and adults, or is easily nabbed in a purse or on a car ride. If you suspect your dog has consumed something with xylitol do not induce vomiting without consulting with a doctor first, as vomiting can worsen hypoglycemia. Call your veterinarian IMMEDIATELY and get your dog to the closest available animal hospital.
We hope you'll never find your dog in this situation, but it's important to be aware of xylitol and keep it out of reach of your pets. ... See MoreSee Less