Xylitol Warning

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is commonly found in items like sugar-free candies and gum. It is also found in some pharmaceuticals and oral health products like chewable vitamins and throat lozenges. While safe for humans, it is harmful - even fatal - for dogs. When ingested by dogsit causes a dangerous surge of insulin. In as short as 15 minutes, the blood sugar level of a dog that has ingested Xylitol may register a marked drop in blood sugar. At high doses, Xylitol is believed to be toxic to the canine liver. Just three grams of Xylitol can kill a 65 pound dog! Because of the different formulas used in producing sugarless gums and other products, the amount of that product consumed that could prove fatal varies and cannot be specified.

A dog that has consumed an item containing Xylitol can rapidly experience a drop in blood sugar causing weakness, lethargy, loss of coordination, collapse and/or seizures. Those symptoms can develop within 15 minutes and the dog must receive immediate veterinary treatment to survive. Without help, irreversible brain damage occurs and the dog most often will die. Xylitol also appears to cause severe liver damage within 24 hours. If you even think your dog has consumed Xylitol, call your veterinarian immediately. You will most likely be instructedto bring your dog in to have vomiting induced and IV fluids started. Veterinary treatment usually involves hospitalization and IV fluids containing glucose. Your dog's blood sugar levels will be monitored every couple hoursto adjust the glucose levels. It the liver tests normal after 24 hours, your dog should be ready to go home.

So how do you prevent Xylitol poisoning? Recognize that in addition to large canine teeth, most dogs also have a very large sweet tooth as well. Do not leave tasty treats lying around in reach of that toothy grin! As with many other items, such as chocolate, grapes, raisins, etc., NEVER assume that what is safe for peole is safe for dogs.