Xylitol is a no calorie sweetener which has become popular in the United States within the past 10 years. This sugar substitute is used in a wide variety of products. Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs and when ingested it can cause hypoglycemia, coagulopathy, and liver disease. These health issues are life threatening. If you think your dog has ingested xylitol you should take your dog to a veterinarian right away.
This post isn’t meant to cause anxiety, but to raise awareness of the real danger of xylitol, because xylitol is found in common household products. It’s important to know where xylitol is found and the danger it poses to dogs so that we can take precautions to protect them, like putting products containing xylitol in a place your dog can’t access. These products can be in virtually every room of your house, including the kitchen, bathroom, and also in purses and backpacks.
Products that include Xylitol may include:
- Nicotine Gum
- Chewable Vitamins
- Baked Goods
- Oral care products
Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) is a rapid and severe drop in blood sugar levels. Symptoms of hypoglycemia may include disorientation, sluggishness, muscle weakness, or seizures. Hypoglycemia due to ingestion of xylitol can cause symptoms to appear 30 minutes to many hours after ingestion. Cases of hypoglycemia can be life-threatening.
Liver disease can cause a lot of serious health problems for your dog, including developing into liver failure. Liver disease also contributes to spontaneous bleeding within the gastrointestinal system.
Coagulopathy causes your dog’s blood to take longer to clot. If your dog is also suffering from liver disease, coagulopathy is a real threat, because liver disease causes spontaneous bleeding.
The most important information to take with you is that xylitol really can threaten your dog’s life. If you suspect your dog has eaten xylitol go to a veterinarian as soon as possible. It is always better to be safe!
Dunayer, Eric K. “New Findings on the Effects of Xylitol Ingestion in Dogs.” Veterinary Medicine. Dec 2006. Pg 791-797. (This article can be accessed on ASPCA.org by searching “xylitol”)
Jennifer Kean is a writer and pet-lover who owns two rescue kittens (lifetime cat owner too!) and has a 40 gallon fish tank!