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The Dangers of Xylitol

Xylitol is a sugar-free sweetener found in food, candy, gum, and in some medications.  It has become popular due to its sweet taste and low glycemic index.  Xylitol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and hepatic necrosis (liver injury) in dogs.  Xylitol tricks a pet’s body into thinking it is receiving sugar which causes blood sugar production to decrease.  However, since there is no actual sugar in xylitol, the blood sugar can drop dangerously low and cause vomiting, weakness, depression, lethargy, seizures, coma, and even death.

 

Items containing xylitol include:

  • Sugar-free gum and candies
  • Weight loss products
  • Sugar-free peanut butter
  • Sugar-free pudding/gelatin
  • Mouthwash
  • Toothpaste
  • Prescription medications
  • Over the counter medications (especially those made for children)
  • Skin care products

 

The following treatment is recommended for ingestion of xylitol:

  • Induce vomiting
  • Hospitalization
  • Monitoring blood sugar levels
  • IV fluids
  • Liver protectant drugs
  • Dextrose supplementation
  • Blood work monitoring

If you suspect your dog has ingested Xylitol—it is critical to seek immediate veterinary care!

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