Dogs have a sweet tooth just like us. A dog would love to eat a freshly baked cookie just as much as the next person, but to keep them safe, sweets are typically a no go. When it comes to sugar-free products, just look the other way. Sugar-free substitutes such as xylitol are extremely toxic to dogs. When it comes to your dog, not giving them that baked good could save their life.



What Is xylitol?


Xylitol, also known as birch sugar, is made from the bark of birch trees or corn cob remains from ethanol plants. It is a sweetener often used in diabetic snacks, baked goods, popular gums, and candies because of its sugar-free properties. It is manufactured into a white powder and tastes similar to sugar. Xylitol is safe for humans to ingest, but it is very harmful to dogs.


Dangers of xylitol poisoning:

Dogs can suffer hypoglycemia, low blood sugar, 10-15 minutes after xylitol consumption. The drop in blood sugar levels can cause vomiting, incoordination, seizures shortly after. Other dangers include liver failure and even death. These clinical signs may not appear for many hours after consumption; however, this is rare.

Common signs of low blood sugar:

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty walking or standing
  • Lethargy
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness


What should I do if my dog eats something containing xylitol?

If you think your dog has eaten a product containing xylitol, immediately call your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661. Do not induce vomiting unless specifically instructed to do so by your vet. Inducing vomiting can worsen your dog’s health if they are showing signs of very low blood sugar levels.

The smaller your dog, the greater the risk of xylitol poisoning. Eating just two pieces of sugar-free gum can be fatal for your dog. The faster you find professional treatment for your dog, the better the chances for recovery.



Pet owners should watch their dogs for clinical signs and regularly monitor blood glucose levels if they suspect xylitol poisoning. If therapy is postponed or the pet has already suffered considerable liver damage, extreme caution should be used.

Pet Poison Helpline® (855) 764-7551, or your veterinarian, should be contacted immediately if you fear your dog has ingested xylitol and is experiencing xylitol poisoning.