Xylitol is a low-calorie sweetener that is finding its way into an increasing amount of products. The sweetener is not limited to food and is included in many dental products, as well as medications and
vitamins. Although this sweetener is “natural,” it is extremely toxic to dogs and cats.
Common products that include xylitol are candies/gum, chocolate, desserts, honey, jam/syrups, drink powders, medication/vitamins, and many dental products. A big surprise for many pet owners is that xylitol is now popping up in peanut butters. For a growing list of products that contain xylitol visit www.preventivevet.com/xylitol-products-toxic-for-dogs. Not only do you want to avoid purposely feeding your pet xylitol, you will want to keep these items out of reach of your pet. Store these items in a safe and secure place.
Even the smallest amount of xylitol can wreak havoc on a pet’s system causing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), liver failure, seizures, or death. There is no antidote for xylitol toxicity, but your veterinarian can provide supportive care to help your pet recover if treated in a
Symptoms of xylitol ingestion occur quickly, usually within 15-30 minutes. Signs that your pet’s blood sugar is lowering rapidly include any of the following:
• Shaking or tremors
• Difficulty walking or standing
If you suspect your pet ingested a product containing xylitol, it is important to contact your veterinarian immediately. Do not wait for your pet to show symptoms.
By Rachel Ray
Rachel Ray is the Director of Marketing for eight Caring Hands Animal Hospital locations in Northern Virginia & Maryland. She lives in Winchester, VA with her husband and their three dogs. Her hobbies include photography, graphic design, interior decorating, and Florida State football games. She is a decent cook, but not enough to be famous.