Xylitol Is A Dog Killer & It's In Your Kitchen!

Posted by Maureen Lake at

Xylitol Is A Dog Killer & It's In Your Kitchen!

Do You Know What Xylitol Is?

"Xylitol is a naturally occurring carbohydrate, that looks and tastes just like regular table sugar. It is a natural sweetener that can be extracted from any woody fibrous plant material. Commercially it is extracted from renewable resources such as corn cobs, and also from less environmentally sustainable sources such as hardwood"

Sounds innocent enough- right? It's natural, found in nature, environmentally friendly, it's even made in our own bodies! Most dog owners know the dangers chocolate poses to our best friend, but most don't know that Xylitol is 100% lethal to dogs! We are on the cusp of Valentine's Day and before you know it Easter will be upon us with all it's candy galore. Be aware of this hidden danger now!

Xylitol found in gum vs. Chocolate

Xylitol Is A Dog Killer & It's In Your Kitchen!

The picture above from Preventative Vet illustrates the minimum amount of Xylitol found in gum  that would KILL a dog in comparison to the minimum amount of dark chocolate that would do the same. Xylitol causes a strong release of insulin in dogs. A small amount will cause a dangerous drop in blood sugar. What most often happens with xylitol ingestion is a seizure, coma, and even death. This can happen within 30 minutes of ingestion.

Look for Xylitol in Ingredient Labels

Xylitol is gaining in popularity every year and added to many ingredients to combat tooth decay, reduce sugar intake especially for diabetics, it's found in children's vitamins and now it's being added to peanut butter! How many times have you given your dog peanut butter as a treat? Xylitol is found in many items, some that might be in your purse right now. Gum, mints from Starbucks, sugar-free candy, baked goods, toothpaste, Flintstone vitamins... the list is endless. Some products use 'buzz' words that you can look for to indicate Xylitol might be in the ingredient list. Be aware of these buzz words it could save your dog's life.  For a complete list of items and brands be sure and check this list.
  • Sugar Free
  • Reduced Sugar
  • All Natural
  • No Artifical Sweeteners
  • Naturally Sweetened
  • 100% Natural
  • Low Carb
  • Low Cal
  • Helps Fight Cavities
  • Cavity Fighting
  • Safe for Diabetics
  • Aspartame Free
  • Sweetened with Birch Sugar

My Dog Is Sick! What Do I Do?

First, it's safe to assume that a dog eating any amount of Xylitol could be enough to cause harm. Call your vet immediately and, unfortunately, activated charcoal does not appear to help in this case of poisoning. It's vital to notify your vet immediately!!!! In most cases your dog will be admitted to the hospital and put on an IV dextrose drip to support and stabilize their blood sugar levels. The time spent in the hospital will vary depending on the amount that was ingested. There are various signs of toxicity, starting with seizures. Unfortunately, liver failure & blood clotting problems can occur and at this point prognosis is not good at all. Time is of the essence so please act with a sense of urgency!

How Can I Protect My Dog From Getting Xylitol Poisoning?

Xylitol Is A Dog Killer & It's In Your Kitchen!

Fortunately, it's really easy to prevent a lot of these unfortunate poisonings. We humans need to change some of our basic habits in order to protect our dogs. Xylitol is not going away -  it is here to stay, and the odds that packaging labels will include warnings are slim. It's up to us to change our ways for our pets.
  • Dogs have been known to counter surf. Be careful where you lay things down especially baked goods and sweeteners.
  • Put your purse, briefcase, backpack in a designated place far out of reach. Chances are you have gum, mints or even chapstick readily available for a curious pet.
  • If you brush your dog's teeth be sure to only use pet toothpaste. Pet products will not include xylitoll or fluoride which is also toxic to pets.
  • Always walk your dog on a leash for many reasons but one being that some dogs will eat gum or food on the ground and you never know if it contains this deadly poison.
  • If your dog does get into over the 700 items that contain this product contact your vet immediately!!!!
Xylitol is not new but it's dangers are new to many pet owners. This poison happens quickly and the effects are deadly.  Please share this information so other dog owners are aware and can prevent the devastating effects of this poison. Let's keep our holidays safe and healthy for all our loved ones, including our dogs.

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  • This is such important information – particularly with peanut butter! Go natural!!

    MattieDog on
  • Wow! Good catch. It’s in so many products now. When I did my research to write this post I found that a lot of vets aren’t even aware of its dangers yet. Scary!

    Maureen Lake on
  • Important information! It is surprising the number of things with xylitol in it. I keep melatonin on hand to give 2 of my dogs for fireworks fear. When I was restocking, they were out of my usual brand so I grabbed a different off the shelf. Luckily I stood there still searching for my usual brand because I turned over the one I had grabbed and it had xylitol in it. I wouldn’t have thought to look at the ingredients, but I do now!

    dawn on
  • Fortunately the brand of peanut butter we use hasn’t made the switch… scary!

    Nichole on
  • Yes, I read this recently too. So far (from what I’ve read) it’s not in Canadian peanut butter yet but I’m telling everyone I know to check for it in any product and am doing so myself. This is not good. Hidden poison is scary.

    sherri on

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