Dog owners know that their dogs can be mischievous at times. Because of this we do what we can to keep them away from well-known toxic substances such as chocolate and alcohol, but what about the toxins that you don’t know? Items that are poisonous to your puppy can be lurking anywhere in your home… such as sugarless gum.
What Is Xylitol?
Xylitol is a sugar-free chemical alternative that can be found in many products sch as sugarless gum, baked products, candies, etc. Most xylitol sold commercially comes from maize or birch trees. However, the low glycemic index and anti-plaque characteristics have boosted its appeal as a sugar replacement in the recent decade despite its long history of usage.
Other examples of products containing xylitol include cough syrup, sugar-free chewable vitamins, mouthwash, and toothpaste. It is now also popping up as an ingredient in a wide range of over the counter and prescription human pharmaceuticals, including nasal sprays, topical skin care products, laxatives, digestive aids, and allergy remedies, dry mouth tablets, and sleeping pills.
Why Is Xylitol Toxic?
Now that you know that xylitol is widely used and found in so many ingredients that can be found in your home, let’s learn why it is toxic to dogs. In both dogs and humans, blood sugar levels are controlled by the release of insulin. Xylitol consumption is safe for humans because the pancreas is not stimulated to release insulin. On the other hand, when dogs ingest xylitol, it rapidly absorbs into the bloodstream, which stimulates the pancreas to release insulin. Due to this, dogs experience a dangerous drop in blood sugar levels, hypoglycemia. This can occur within 10 minutes to 1 hour after consumption. If left untreated, xylitol can cause liver failure and even be fatal.
What Are the Symptoms of Xylitol Poisoning in Dogs?
Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, is the most common cause of the first indications of xylitol poisoning, and it may occur within an hour after ingestion. Shock, liver failure, and death can occur in severe situations. Any or all of the following may be clinical signs of low blood sugar:
· Lack of coordination
· Difficulty walking
If you believe your dog has ingested a product containing xylitol, you should immediately call your veterinarian and Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661. Depending on the severity of the situation, a clinic visit may be necessary to get your pup the correct treatment. This matter is extremely important and acting immediately is essential to your dog’s health. Again, if you fear your dog has consumed xylitol immediately call Pet Poison Helpline® or your vet for professional help.