If you’re unsure, but suspect your dog has ingested xylitol, watch for signs and symptoms, which can occur in the first 30 minutes of consumption. Commercially, most xylitol is extracted from corn fiber, birch trees, hardwood trees and other vegetable material. Although xylitol might sound a little like sorbitol, its effects on dogs are entirely different. Dosages of xylitol over ~75100 mg/kg (3445 mg/lb) have been associated with hypoglycemia in dogs. Dogs that ingest doses of >0.1 g/kg of xylitol are at risk for developing hypoglycemia, while dogs that ingest >0.5 g/kg may develop acute liver failure. (In as little as 15 minutes, the blood sugar of a dog that has eaten gum containin… Xylitol poisoning can be fatal.It is one of the worst ingredients for dogs, outside grapes and raisins. The fact that xylitol is dangerous for your dog might make you hesitant to use it. Additional information can be found online at www.petpoisonhelpline.com. It’s clear than humans can consume many foods that dogs cannot—xylitol isn’t any different. However, though xylitol is very beneficial to humans, it’s not safe for pets, especially dogs. Although xylitol is safe for human consumption (and known to have antimicrobial properties, retain moisture, and prevent cavities), it can be fatal when ingested by dogs. But in animals like dogs, xylitol quickly is absorbed in the bloodstream, which causes a potent release of insulin from the pancreas. Contributors: Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS, DABT, DABVT, Associate Director of Veterinary Services, Pet Poison Helpline, *Pet Poison Helpline, is an animal poison control service available 24 hours, seven days a week for pet owners and veterinary professionals who require assistance treating a potentially poisoned pet. Since toxicity develops rapidly, your veterinarian will not wait for a confirmed diagnosis before beginning treatment. If dogs ingest xylitol, they run the risk of going into hypoglycemic shock. Some dogs ingesting xylitol at dosages >500 mg/kg (227 mg/lb) may develop severe hepatic insufficiency or failure, the mechanism of which is unknown. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol used as a sugar substitute in many human products, including many dental products as it reduces the development of cavities and plaque. It's innocuous for people, but actually severely poisonous to canines. However, bigger breeds of dogs have shown to be affected by xylitol as much as other breeds. Within 15 to 20 minutes, they might even be comatose, she adds, and depending on the amount consumed, a dog can also experience liver failure from ingesting xylitol. There has been less research on other pets, including cats and ferrets, but it … An additive in dental care products, baked goods, nicotine gum, vitamins and more, xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs with symptoms ranging from lethargy to hypoglycemia. Minimal amounts of it can even lead to seriously dangerous consequences, namely liver failure, seizures and declines in blood sugar. Pet Poison Helpline is available in North America by calling 800-213-6680. The toxicity of xylitol for cats and other species is not documented at this time, although there has been some concern that other non-primate species (e.g., cats, ferrets, etc.) Insulin is a hormone that helps the bodys cells take glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream and use it for cellular functioning. If the dog lapses into a coma, the prognosis is very poor. Rapid diagnosis and treatment is imperative! However, there are many foods humans are capable of consuming that are dangerous for dogs to eat. When xylitol is ingested by humans it does not impact the release of insulin from the pancreas but in dogs its the opposite. If your dog has ingested xylitol, contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Poison Control Center immediately. However, though xylitol is very beneficial to humans, it’s not safe for pets, especially dogs. In theory what this means is that the heavier your dog is, the more xylitol it can handle before going into shock. Interestingly, it seems that while some breeds are greatly affected by xylitol, others don’t have a problem, but more research is being done to obtain more information. Diagnosing Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs Your dog will undergo a complete blood profile, including a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, and a … Though safe for humans, xylitol can be deadly to dogs and other pets. Some brands of gum contain fairly small amounts of xylitol, and it would take up to 9 pieces of gum to result in severe hypoglycemia in a 45 pound (20 kg) dog, while 45 pieces would need to be ingested to result in liver failure. In most mammals, xylitol has no significant effect on insulin levels, but in dogs, xylitol stimulates a rapid, dose-dependent insulin release that can result in profound hypoglycemia. Xylitol in dogs results in rapid release of insulin by the pancreas leading to a rapid decline in blood sugar level in dogs causing … The … Dog owners should know that xylitol can be toxic to dogs, even when the relatively small amounts from candies are eaten. That can lead to hypoglycemia, an extreme reduction in the amount of blood sugar. Why is xylitol toxic to dogs? Bigger amounts of xylitol can generally trigger more intense effects. If dogs ingest xylitol, they run the risk of going into hypoglycemic shock. If your dog has just eaten xylitol but has not yet developed any clinical signs, your veterinarian may induce vomiting to prevent further absorption, depending on what your dog's blood glucose level is. What makes xylitol toxic for dogs is the speed with which it acts. Humans can safely consume it, but it’s deadly to dogs the same way alcohol or chocolate can be. Signs of hypoglycemia may include any or all of the following: In severe cases, the dog may develop seizures or liver failure. Over recent years, the number and types of products that contain xylitol has greatly increased. When brushing your pets’ teeth, only use toothpaste intended for pets, never one made for human use. Xylitol poisoning in dogs most commonly occurs as a result of dogs eating chewing gum, specifically the sugar-free variety. Milk and Dairy: Even though puppies can drink milk from their mother, later in life dogs are essentially lactose intolerant. The prognosis is good for dogs that are treated before clinical signs develop, or for dogs that develop uncomplicated hypoglycemia that is quickly reversed. In all cases, your dog will require hospitalization for blood sugar monitoring, dextrose administration, intravenous fluids, liver protectants, and any other supportive care that may be needed. Xylitol is highly toxic to dogs, leading to hypoglycemia and liver failure. It is important to get treatment for your dog as quickly as possible. Xylitol is safe for use in people, although like most sugar alcohols, it may have a mild laxative effect when eaten in large amounts or when first introduced to a diet. Chemically, it is a sugar alcohol, and found naturally in berries, plums, corn, oats, mushrooms, lettuce, trees, and some other fruits. That means it could take just three pieces of xylitol gum to leave a 30kg dog, such as a Labrador, seriously ill. What causes xylitol poisoning in dogs? Pet Poison Helpline is not directly affiliated with LifeLearn. Dogs that develop liver failure from xylitol poisoning often show signs of hypoglycemia. If you personally use products containing xylitol, make sure they are stored safely out of reach of your pets. When cells take too much sugar from the blood (in response to increased insulin levels), the pets blood sugar can drop dangerously lowa condition known as hypoglycemia. In severe cases, liver cells can die in large numbers, and the pet may develo… As a sugar substitute, it is lower on the glycemic index, a scale that ranks carbohydrate-rich foods by how much they raise blood sugar levels compared to glucose. Emergency Situations, Medical Conditions, Others, Pet Services. Since xylitol toxicity can cause both low blood glucose and low potassium levels, your veterinarian will perform blood work to determine whether these problems need to be treated. Macadamia Nuts: If eaten by your dog, macadamia nuts can cause depression, vomiting, and hyperthermia. Yet thousands of dogs are accidentally poisoned by xylitol every year. Brutlag says ingesting xylitol causes a rapid and massive insulin release in dogs, which will manifest itself outwardly to a pet owner as acute weakness, staggering, and vomiting. Learn more. Actually, Xylitol is more dangerous for dogs than cats. In both humans and dogs, the level of blood sugar is controlled by the release of insulin from the pancreas. No. Xylitol can also cause liver damage in dogs. However, when non-primate species like dogs eat something containing xylitol, the xylitol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, resulting in a potent release of insulin from the pancreas. Some brands reportedly contain as much as one gram in each piece. Example products include sugar-free gum, candies, breath mints, baked goods, pudding snacks, cough syrup, children's chewable or gummy vitamins and supplements, mouthwash, and toothpaste. In humans and dogs, blood sugar levels are determined by the amount of insulin released from the pancreas into the bloodstream. Even the smallest amount of xylitol can threaten your dog’s life, proving just how dangerous this substance is for dogs. You can prevent xylitol poisoning by keeping items containing the ingredient away from pets. The "toxic doses" of xylitol for a 10lb dog, 30lb dog, and a 70lb dog are shown in the table and the picture below. In dogs, xylitol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and results in a large insulin release, which triggers the symptoms mentioned above. Xylitol is manufactured into a white powder that looks and tastes similar to sugar. There is no antidote for xylitol toxicity, although treatment with sugar supplementation, IV fluids, and liver protective drugs are beneficial. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure or even death in dogs. Additional information can be found online at, Lack of coordination or difficulty walking or standing. Their bodies aren’t able to metabolize it the same as you and me, and as such is extremely dangerous for them. This rapid release of insulin causes a rapid and profound decrease in the level of blood sugar (hypoglycemia), an effect that occurs within 10-60 minutes of eating the xylitol. Xylitol does not stimulate the release of insulin from the pancreas in humans. Xylitol has a serious impact on the way a dog manages their blood sugar and can lead to a dangerous drop in … This effect is not seen in people who eat xylitol. Untreated, this hypoglycemia can be life-threatening. Being lower on the glycemic index makes xylitol useful for diabetics or people on low carbohydrate diets. In dogs, xylitol has the polar opposite effect. Xylitol is safe for people, but because people have different metabolisms then animals, xylitol can be fatal for cats and dogs. In any case, dogs should never consume xylitol. or liquids. The compound doesnt affect glucose levels in people, but when ingested by dogs it can cause a dangerous surge of insulin. They don’t have the necessary lactase to properly digest dairy from cows for example, and therefore milk and other dairy products can cause diarrhea and other digestive problems. As there is a large range of xylitol in each different brand and flavor of gum, it is important to identify whether a toxic amount has been ingested. Xylitol is a sweetener used in many foods and products for people (things like certain gum, sugarless ice cream, candy). It’s regularly found in sugar-free chewing gum, toothpaste, mouthwash, vitamin supplements, a small handful of peanut butter brands, and other 'low sugar' or sugar-free products. Xylitol is a sweetener that's gaining in popularity because of its dental benefits for people as well as its suitability as a sugar substitute for people with diabetes. In dogs, doses > 0.1 g/kg are considered toxic and result in profound, sudden problems. In some cases, xylitol can be deadly to dogs. It can cause low blood sugar and serious liver problems. Treatment for xylitol toxicity normally involves hospitalization, iv fluids, and careful monitoring. Xylitol Toxicity in dogs After a dog consumes a significant amount of xylitol, there is a massive release of insulin from the pancreas. Xylitol is very dangerous for dogs. In people and rats, xylitol is absorbed slowly (which increases the risk of osmotic diarrhea associated with excess sugar-alcohol ingestion); between 49% and 95% of oral xylitol is absorbed by people.4,5 In dogs, xylitol is rapidly and almost completely absorbed, with peak plasma concentrations occurring at about 30 minutes.6 Here are a few examples, but see this full list of foods to know exactly what to watch out for. At prescribed doses, these should not result in xylitol poisoning; however, if ingested in large amounts, can potentially result in poisoning. Do not induce vomiting or give anything orally to your dog unless specifically directed to do so by your veterinarian. Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar replacement with many health benefits, including the prevention of issues such as cavities and ear infections. Do not share any food that may contain xylitol with your pets. Pet Poison Helpline is available in North America by calling 800-213-6680. The ingestion of xylitol or xylitol-containing products causes a rapid release of the hormone insulin, causing a sudden decrease in the dog's blood glucose. The dose of xylitol that can cause hypoglycemia in the dog has been reported between 50 milligrams (mg) of xylitol per pound of body weight (100 mg per kg). may react to xylitol in a similar manner as dogs. Xylitol Poisoning in Dogs. How does xylitol affect dogs? A substance called xylitol is making thousands of dog sick and even causing death, affecting more pets now than ever before, and it’s probably in your home right now. The higher the dose ingested, the more the risk of liver failure. Xylitol is a common sugar substitute that can be toxic to dogs in even small amounts and it can be fatal. ©Copyright VCA Hospitals all rights reserved. Xylitol is extremely toxic to our pups. Why Xylitol Is Dangerous to Dogs. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that was first discovered in the late 19th century and was first used as a safer alternative to sugar for diabetic patients. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol used to sweeten sugar-free products such as gums, candies, and baked goods 1. Alcohol: Beverages and food products with alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, coma, and even death if ingested by your dog. Hypoglycemia can develop even if as little as >0.1 gram/kilogram is ingested, according to ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. Keep in mind that there are some veterinary products that contain small amounts of xylitol (e.g., gabapentin medication, mouthwashes). The most common source of xylitol poisoning that Pet Poison Helpline* gets calls about comes from sugar-free gum. Hypoglycemic shock can happen anywhere from thirty minutes after ingestion up until twelve hours after ingestion. Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs. A presumptive diagnosis of xylitol poisoning is made if you know or suspect that the dog ate something containing xylitol, and there are symptoms of hypoglycemia. This triggers an excessive release of insulin, resulting in the removal of dangerous amounts of sugar from the bloodstream, or canine hypoglycemia. This, in turn, results in a dangerously low blood sugar level and symptoms such as weakness, trembling, seizures, collapse, and even death. If liver failure or a bleeding disorder develops, the prognosis is generally poor. This occurs because xylitol may not be completely digested in the intestines until the digestive system adapts. With respect to oral health, research has shown that xylitol helps reduce the formation of plaque, inhibits dental cavities, and stimulates the production of saliva. For our furry dog friends, however, they are downright dangerous. Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs. Interestingly, both in people and dogs, the level of blood sugar is controlled by the release of insulin from the pancreas. Xylitol consumption is considered harmless to people but is known to cause life-threatening toxicoses in dogs. That tragedy echoed an example which first reached us in May 2007 and reminds us that Xylitol has been known to be potentially toxic to dogs for a number of years now: While Xylitol is safe for humans, it can be harmful to dogs. It may be beneficial to a human diabetic or someone watching their weight, but it can be deadly for dogs. In both humans and dogs, the level of blood sugar is controlled by the release of insulin from the pancreas. But for dogs, xylitol poisoning is a major problem, according to Ahna Brutlag, DVM, associate director of veterinary services at Pet Poison Helpline. Chocolate and Coffee: Cacao and coffee beans—the plants used to make chocolate and coffee—contain substances called methylxanthines, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea tremors, seizures, and even death if ingested by your dog. If insulin concentrations are too high, blood glucose levels can drop to a dangerously low level (hypoglycemia). With other common brands of gum which contain 1 g/piece of gum, only 2 pieces would result in severe hypoglycemia, while 10 pieces can result in liver failure. Upon consumption, xylitol is directly absorbed into the bloodstream. Blood work should be monitored frequently to make sure that blood sugar and liver function remain normal. With any poisoning, prompt decontamination and treatment is always warranted, as it's less dangerous to your pet, and less expensive for you to treat early! Even small amounts of xylitol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure or even death in dogs. If clinical signs have developed, treatment will be based on the symptoms that are being shown. Higher doses (> 0.5 g/kg) of xylitol have been associated with acute hepatic necrosis. We’re committed to keeping clients and staff safe during COVID-19 with NEW admittance and check-out processes. Although it has been used as a sugar substitute for decades, its popularity has increased dramatically in the last few years due to its low glycemic index and dental plaque fighting properties. If you suspect that your pet has eaten a xylitol-containing product, please contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680) immediately. Within an hour or less, hypoglycemic symptoms can become noticeable. In dogs, xylitol causes a strong release of insulin, the hormone responsible for allowing glucose to enter cells. Xylitol This naturally produced sweetener is found in many “sugar-free” items such as ice cream, candies, pastries, gums, yogurts, juices and more. The first sign of xylitol ingestion is typically vomiting. Xylitol is Deadly to Dogs Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar replacement with many health benefits, including the prevention of issues such as cavities and ear infections. Symptoms of xylitol poisoning develop rapidly, usually within 15-30 minutes of consumption. Again, if your dog ingests xylitol (or any of the above mentioned foods) get help immediately. With xylitol poisoning, it is imperative to calculate whether a toxic dose has been ingested. Xylitol is about as sweet as sucrose, but contains only about two-thirds of the calories. Most dogs do recover even with large xylitol ingestions, but veterinary intervention is often required. Other symptoms include lethargy, collapse, seizures, and ataxia. Know the signs and symptoms, and be ready to act quickly should your dog accidentally gobble up desserts, gum (even left on the street), or sugar-free peanut butter. *Pet Poison Helpline, is an animal poison control service available 24 hours, seven days a week for pet owners and veterinary professionals who require assistance treating a potentially poisoned pet. Xylitol is a naturally occurring substance that is widely used as a sugar substitute. In many countries it has been approved for use in oral care products, pharmaceuticals and as a food additive. In humans, xylitol doesn’t cause the pancreas to release insulin (and is even safe for diabetics, as it’s glycemic index is less than 1/10 of regular sugar). Xylitol is also showing up in over-the-counter nasal sprays, laxatives, digestive aids, allergy medicines, and prescription human medications, especially those formulated as disintegrating drug tablets (sleep aids, pain relievers, antipsychotics, etc.) Xylitol, a sugar substitute used in sugar-free gum, oral care products, and baked goods, is gaining popularity in the United States. In dogs, xylitol stimulates the pancreas to release insulin. Though safe for humans to consume, even in large quantities, it’s extremely toxic to dogs. As some dogs may already be hypoglycemic, inducing vomiting can make them worse! Xylitol is classified as a five-carbon sugar alcohol which has many uses. Fast and aggressive treatment by your veterinarian is essential to effectively reverse any toxic effects and prevent the development of severe problems.
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