With Halloween and Holidays approaching candies and treats are going to be popping up more frequently and sometimes left out for more than little human hands to grab. Pets are pretty good at sniffing out things they shouldn’t necessarily have! With the human health craze these days xylitol has been a sugar substitute in more and more products. If dogs ingest this, it can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar and liver damage that can be life threatening. Something as innocent as a few pieces of sugar free gum left out on the counter could land your pup in the hospital.
Xylitol is commonly found in many household products including the following:
- Diabetic snacks (e.g., gums)
- Diabetic foods
- Baked goods
- Some peanut butter (Go Nuts, Nuts N More)
- Gums (Orbit, Eclipse, Trident to name a few)
- Chewable sugar-free multivitamins
- Chewable sugar-free prenatal medications
- Nasal sprays
- Medications (including oral pills over-the-counter like melatonin or prescription medications like gabapentin)
Click here for a detailed list of products containing xylitol:
Symptoms of Xylitol poisoning may include:
- Weakness or lethargy
- Walking drunk
- Acute collapse
- Trembling or tremoring
- Yellowed gums or skin
- Black-tarry stool
- Abnormal mentation
If your dog does get into something sugar-free, always check the ingredient list. Note that other sound-a-likes like sorbitol, maltitol, and erythritol are not poisonous to dogs. Likewise, other sugar-free products such as stevia, saccharin, sucralose, aspartame, etc. are also not poisonous to dogs.
When in doubt, if you think your dog got into xylitol, contact your veterinarian or a Pet Poison Helpline (855-886-7965 www.petpoisonhelpline.com) right away for life-saving care. They can help calculate and determine whether or not the amount of xylitol ingested was poisonous or not. Always try to keep these products or foods out of reach of your pets. The sooner you recognize the problem and seek veterinary attention, the less expensive and less dangerous it is to your pet!
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian — they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.