What Is Xylitol and Why is it Harmful for Dogs?

What is xylitol and why is it harmful for dogs? Dogs are curious and hungry creatures, so you need to be careful with what they have access to. You might think if a human can eat it, a dog can eat it, but that's not always the case. Also, never underestimate the strange things that your dog might decide to ingest. This article will discuss the ingredient xylitol and how it affects dogs.

You've probably never heard of xylitol, but it's probably in products that you have in your home right now. What is xylitol? It's a 5-carbon sugar alcohol. It is used as a sweetener in some baked goods, candy, chewing gum, toothpaste, and mouthwash. Xylitol leads to the rapid release of insulin in a dog's body which causes a sudden decrease in blood glucose. It's harmless for you, but depending on your dog's weight, a small amount could be toxic.

If your dog has xylitol toxicity the symptoms will usually begin within 30 minutes of ingesting whatever contained the xylitol. Sometimes in cases of xylitol toxicity caused by sugar free chewing gum symptoms were delayed and didn't develop until much later, up to 12 hours later. The most common symptoms of xylitol toxicity in dogs are lethargy, vomiting, collapse, loss of coordination, and seizures. In severe cases, internal bleeding in the stomach or intestines and liver failure can occur.

Low blood sugar can be treated and once the xylitol is out of a dog's system they should recover. However, bleeding causes complications and a dog that experiences liver failure isn't likely to recover.

To avoid the loss of your beloved pet you need to keep anything containing xylitol locked away or out of reach. Dogs are known for eating unbelievably strange things so eating candy, gum, and toothpaste wouldn't be that surprising. You should also be careful with chocolate which can also be toxic to dogs and train your dog not to steal food or non-food items.

The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your veterinarian or other health care professional. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment.