There is a new toxicity risk in veterinary medicine for dogs who ingest Xylitol and a serious concern for pet owners. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol used as a sweetener in food products and is mainly found in chewing gum and some candies. It may also be listed as Eutrit, Kannit, Newtol, Xylite, Torch, or Xyliton. As it gains popularity it will soon be found in more foods meant for human consumption…most recently peanut butter.
Xylitol causes insulin release which in turn causes hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and at higher doses liver failure in dogs. It may only take 1-3 sticks of gum to poison a 20 pound dog. Symptoms typically begin within 30 minutes but since xylitol can be absorbed into the body slowly, symptoms may not begin until 12 hours after the xylitol was eaten. Dogs typically begin vomiting and then progress to weakness, incoordination, tremors, collapse, and seizures. All xylitol exposures should be evaluated by a veterinarian immediately. Because xylitol is absorbed extremely rapidly, early treatment will carry the best prognosis. Xylitol ingestion can be fatal. There is no antidote for xylitol toxicity.
Xylitol poisoning is preventable. Please help us spread the word to your pet loving family and friends!! If you think your dog has ingested xylitol please call your veterinarian immediately or contact poison control at 888-426-4435.