puppy lying down
Xylitol – what is it?  Xylitol is a naturally occurring substance that is widely used as a sugar substitute. Chemically, it’s a sugar alcohol and, in nature, it’s found in:

  • berries
  • plumsxylitol3
  • corn
  • oats
  • mushrooms
  • lettuce
  • trees
  • and other hardwood trees and fruits.

Commercially, most Xylitol is extracted from:

  • corn fiber
  • birch trees
  • hardwood trees
  • other vegetable material

Although Xylitol has been used as a sugar substitute for many years, its popularity has increased dramatically very recently.  Xylitol is a white powder that looks and tastes similar to sugar, is as sweet but contains about two-thirds the calories.

It is found in sugar-free gum and is now included in more and more foods like peanut butter, baked goods, candy, diet products and even some toothpastes and teeth cleaners.


Xylitol Is Really Bad For Dogs …

While Xylitol is safe for humans, it’s extremely toxic to dogs.
Even small amounts of Xylitol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure or even death in dogs.  The higher the dose ingested, the greater the risk of liver failure complications.

As Xylitol is becoming more popular and it’s included in more and more foods, we have to be on alert.  Our dogs will also find these foods appetizing and they many have mastered the art of  stealth food burglary.  Not only that, we like to treat our dogs to some of our human food too.


… And Life Threatening

While Xylitol doesn’t stimulate the release of insulin from the pancreas in humans, it certainly does in dogs.

dogs-sleepingWhen a dog eats something containing Xylitol, it’s quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, resulting in a potent release of insulin from the pancreas.

This rapid release of insulin results in a profound decrease in the level of blood sugar (hypoglycemia) – an effect that occurs within 10 to 60 minutes of ingestion.

Untreated, this hypoglycemia is often life threatening.

There‘s no antidote for Xylitol toxicity.

However, quick diagnosis and treatment by your veterinarian can help reverse the toxic effects.  If you suspect your dog has ingested Xylitol you should contact your veterinarian immediately as prompt treatment is important. The prognosis is good for dogs who are treated before symptoms develop or for dogs who develop uncomplicated hypoglycemia that is reversed rapidly.

If liver failure or a bleeding disorder develops, the prognosis is generally poor. Most dogs who develop liver problems never make it.


Signs of Xylitol Poisoning…

Symptoms may include:

  • lack of energy or weakness
  • coordination problems
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • tremors
  • possibly seizures

Even very small amounts of Xylitol can cause symptoms such as seizures and liver failure, so be extremely vigilant when feeding your pet anything

Please read the ingredients labels of ANYTHING you feed your pets.  Some foods that are safe for humans are toxic to pets – Xylitol is one of those ingredients.

We recommend storing foodstuffs made with Xylitol in a dog proof location; our canine friends love a delicious cupcakes just as much as we do!lab-stealing-biscuits



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