Xylitol, also known as birch sugar, is being used in more and more products as a sugar substitution. You may have never heard of xylitol before, but chances are it is somewhere in your home. Xylitol can be found in sugar-free gum, baked goods, candy, peanut butter, human toothpaste, makeup and more! While it is perfectly safe for human consumption and use, it is toxic and even deadly to dogs. Learn more about the dangers of xylitol to dogs by reading below. 

Why is Xylitol Dangerous for Dogs? 

The dosage of xylitol used in products varies. For example, the same brand of sugar-free gum can have varying amounts of xylitol in different flavors. As we know, dogs typically will not turn away any food available to them. If they come across sugar-free gum or candy, they will gobble it up. Not only is xylitol by itself scary, but the chances of your dog encountering it are as well, given how many products use xylitol. Xylitol can cause a life-threatening drop in blood sugar and acute liver failure within just 10 to 15 minutes of ingestion. 

Symptoms of Xylitol Poisoning 

Low dosages of xylitol in dogs can cause hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, while high doses can cause seizures and liver failure. Amounts of xylitol vary from product to product. If in doubt, contact Pet Poison Helpline® for more details on a specific product and to determine the severity of the poisoning. Symptoms of xylitol poisoning can include: 

  • Vomiting 
  • Inability to walk/stand or lack of coordination 
  • Lethargy or weakness 
  • Body tremors 
  • Seizures 

Treatment of Xylitol Poisoning 

It is crucial to find medical help right away if your dog has consumed xylitol. Call Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 and your veterinarian to determine the severity of the poisoning and treatment. It is best to take your dog to a vet clinic or animal hospital right away so they can receive proper medical care. Your veterinarian will likely induce vomiting if the ingestion occurred less than six hours ago, and your dog is not exhibiting signs of poisoning. The vet will then attempt to keep your dog’s blood sugar levels normal, which might involve administering IV fluids containing dextrose supplementation. If you have any questions or concerns, contact Pet Poison helpline so the experts can keep your dog safe and give you peace of mind.