If you are a dog owner you’ve likely heard or read that xylitol is poisonous to dogs. It’s found in common products like chewing gum and peanut butter, but what exactly is xylitol and why is it bad for dogs? Keep reading to learn more about xylitol, and what to do if your dog is exposed to it.

What Is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that is naturally occurring in plants. It is used as a sugar substitute in many sugar-free products, as well as dental products. As well as being used as a sugar substitute, xylitol is also used to prevent tooth plaque and dry mouth.

Xylitol Can Be Found In:

  • Most candies
  • Chewing gum
  • Peanut butter
  • Mouthwash
  • Tooth paste
  • Mints
  • Cough Syrup
  • Sugar-free products

Why Is It Toxic To Dogs?

The reason why xylitol is toxic for dogs is because of how rapidly their bodies absorb it into their bloodstream. When a dogs ingests xylitol it creates a potent release of insulin from the pancreas, which in turn causes an extreme drop in blood sugar levels.

Xylitol Poisoning Symptoms

  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Disorientation
  • Seizures
  • Collapse

What To Do If Your Dog Is Exposed To Xylitol

If your dog has eaten any products with xylitol in it immediately contact your local veterinarian, or emergency veterinarian clinic in the event your local vet is unavailable. Depending on how much your dog has ingested, they will have you come in for treatment.

Treatment for xylitol exposure in dogs involves closely monitoring liver function and blood-sugar levels. Veterinarians do this with intra-venous fluids, dextrose, and liver protectants.

The best treatment for xylitol exposure is prevention. Now that we know the in’s and out’s of xylitol, take a look around your home and make sure that any products containing xylitol (i.e. chewing gum, mints, candies, toothpaste) are completely out of reach for your dog. Likewise, check the ingredients of any dog-safe human foods you might want to give them, and only use dog toothpaste.

Written by Vincent M.

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