Don’t Let Us Get Our Paws on This: Xylitol Can Be Fatal To Dogs

July 29th, 2008 by Max

We just got an email warning, reminding us about the xylitol danger to dogs. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that is commonly used is sugar-free products like chewing gum, candy, chewable vitamins and throat lozenges.

In humans, high doses of the sweetener can cause mild diarrhea, but in dogs, it can be fatal. When a dog ingests xylitol, it can cause a sudden surge of insulin, causing a sudden decrease in blood glucose.  Within 30 minutes, the dog may exhibit signs of weakness, lethargy, loss of coordination and seizures and without veterinary intervention could suffer severe liver damage and irreversible brain trauma within 24 hours. Just three grams of xylitol can kill a 65-pound dog, which is about 8 to 10 pieces of sugarless gum, but for a small dog, it could take as few as two sticks to prove fatal.

As you may have noticed, dogs are pretty good Hoover vacuums when anything even remotely food-like hits the floor. In addition, an open purse lying on the floor is just an invitation for a little nosing around. So be diligent about keeping chewing gum, candy or any other foods containing xylitol out of our paws.

But if accidental exposure does occur, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435 and get your pet to your vet for immediate treatment. It really could be the difference between life and death.

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