Xylitol and Dogs

Xylitol is clinically proven to be safe for humans and it's becoming increasingly popular because of its usefulness to diabetics, people that may be on a low carb diet or just anyone who is looking for a product to improve dental health. However, due to different biological structure, xylitol can be dangerous to dogs. The purpose of this post is to increase awareness and protect dogs from any accidental ingestion.

Most people throughout the world know that chocolate is harmful to dogs. Chocolate contains a chemical ingredient called theobromine. Theobromine is somewhat similar to caffeine and is extremely toxic to a dog when ingesting between 100-150 milligrams per kilogram of body weight.  Chocolate and xylitol alike are perfectly safe and delicious for humans but potentially dangerous to man's best friend.

Small amounts of xylitol may cause low blood sugar, liver failure, seizures or in some cases death in dogs. When a dog eats xylitol, the process of digestion is completely different. Both dogs and humans have their level of blood sugar controlled by the release of insulin from the pancreas. When a dog eats xylitol, a potent release of insulin from the pancreas occurs because the xylitol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. The speedy release of insulin results in an incredibly fast decrease in the dogs level of blood sugar. Within 10-60 minutes, the decrease of your dogs blood sugar level could be life threatening. 

It's been reported that between 50 milligrams (mg) of xylitol per pound of body weight (100 mg per kg) is the cause of the rapid decrease in blood sugar level (hypoglycemia). Obviously the higher the dose, the higher the risk of liver failure.


So what are symptoms of dog xylitol poisoning?

  • Difficulty walking
  • Unable to stand
  • Seizures
  • Depression 
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Coma

    How is xylitol poisoning for dogs treated? 

    If you believe your dog has consumed xylitol then timely treatment is needed. Your veterinarian is essential to removing and reversing all toxic effects and prevent the possible development of severe damage. Your veterinarian may induce vomiting, perform blood work to determine your dog's blood glucose and potassium levels, and may require your dog to be hospitalized for monitoring, liver protectants, intravenous fluids, dextrose administration, and other supportive care. 

    Tips to prevent your dog from eating xylitol: 

    1. Keep your xylitol products sealed and up high where your canine can't reach.
    2. After using xylitol you should put your product in a pantry or cupboard.
    3. Sweep up any accidental spills and make sure you throw away your used xylitol gum.
    4. Inform your family members (especially children) about the dangers of xylitol and dogs.
    5. Keep your xylitol products in a place your dog is not allowed.