xylitol and dogs

Written by on December 19, 2020

For our furry dog friends, however, they are downright dangerous. The ingestion of xylitol or xylitol-containing products causes a rapid release of the hormone insulin, causing a sudden decrease in the dog's blood glucose. However, though xylitol is very beneficial to humans, it’s not safe for pets, especially dogs. The compound doesnt affect glucose levels in people, but when ingested by dogs it can cause a dangerous surge of insulin. No. They don’t have the necessary lactase to properly digest dairy from cows for example, and therefore milk and other dairy products can cause diarrhea and other digestive problems. If the dog lapses into a coma, the prognosis is very poor. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure or even death in dogs. When brushing your pets’ teeth, only use toothpaste intended for pets, never one made for human use. Here are a few examples, but see this full list of foods to know exactly what to watch out for. As a sugar substitute, it is lower on the glycemic index, a scale that ranks carbohydrate-rich foods by how much they raise blood sugar levels compared to glucose. Xylitol is a naturally occurring substance that is widely used as a sugar substitute. If you suspect that your pet has eaten a xylitol-containing product, please contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680) immediately. It’s regularly found in sugar-free chewing gum, toothpaste, mouthwash, vitamin supplements, a small handful of peanut butter brands, and other 'low sugar' or sugar-free products. In both humans and dogs, the level of blood sugar is controlled by the release of insulin from the pancreas. If your dog has just eaten xylitol but has not yet developed any clinical signs, your veterinarian may induce vomiting to prevent further absorption, depending on what your dog's blood glucose level is. An additive in dental care products, baked goods, nicotine gum, vitamins and more, xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs with symptoms ranging from lethargy to hypoglycemia. Since toxicity develops rapidly, your veterinarian will not wait for a confirmed diagnosis before beginning treatment. The "toxic doses" of xylitol for a 10lb dog, 30lb dog, and a 70lb dog are shown in the table and the picture below. Xylitol This naturally produced sweetener is found in many “sugar-free” items such as ice cream, candies, pastries, gums, yogurts, juices and more. Milk and Dairy: Even though puppies can drink milk from their mother, later in life dogs are essentially lactose intolerant. You can prevent xylitol poisoning by keeping items containing the ingredient away from pets. Xylitol is a sweetener that's gaining in popularity because of its dental benefits for people as well as its suitability as a sugar substitute for people with diabetes. If liver failure or a bleeding disorder develops, the prognosis is generally poor. Upon consumption, xylitol is directly absorbed into the bloodstream. Being lower on the glycemic index makes xylitol useful for diabetics or people on low carbohydrate diets. However, though xylitol is very beneficial to humans, it’s not safe for pets, especially dogs. Minimal amounts of it can even lead to seriously dangerous consequences, namely liver failure, seizures and declines in blood sugar. The most common source of xylitol poisoning that Pet Poison Helpline* gets calls about comes from sugar-free gum. If you’re unsure, but suspect your dog has ingested xylitol, watch for signs and symptoms, which can occur in the first 30 minutes of consumption. The dose of xylitol that can cause hypoglycemia in the dog has been reported between 50 milligrams (mg) of xylitol per pound of body weight (100 mg per kg). In dogs, xylitol has the polar opposite effect. Additional information can be found online at, Lack of coordination or difficulty walking or standing. (In as little as 15 minutes, the blood sugar of a dog that has eaten gum containin… Brutlag says ingesting xylitol causes a rapid and massive insulin release in dogs, which will manifest itself outwardly to a pet owner as acute weakness, staggering, and vomiting. Dogs that ingest doses of >0.1 g/kg of xylitol are at risk for developing hypoglycemia, while dogs that ingest >0.5 g/kg may develop acute liver failure. In any case, dogs should never consume xylitol. or liquids. Dosages of xylitol over ~75100 mg/kg (3445 mg/lb) have been associated with hypoglycemia in dogs. Macadamia Nuts: If eaten by your dog, macadamia nuts can cause depression, vomiting, and hyperthermia. In dogs, xylitol causes a strong release of insulin, the hormone responsible for allowing glucose to enter cells. Diagnosing Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs Your dog will undergo a complete blood profile, including a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, and a … Signs of hypoglycemia may include any or all of the following: In severe cases, the dog may develop seizures or liver failure. Xylitol poisoning can be fatal.It is one of the worst ingredients for dogs, outside grapes and raisins. Pet Poison Helpline is not directly affiliated with LifeLearn. When xylitol is ingested by humans it does not impact the release of insulin from the pancreas but in dogs its the opposite. In severe cases, liver cells can die in large numbers, and the pet may develo… Bigger amounts of xylitol can generally trigger more intense effects. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol used as a sugar substitute in many human products, including many dental products as it reduces the development of cavities and plaque. In theory what this means is that the heavier your dog is, the more xylitol it can handle before going into shock. That means it could take just three pieces of xylitol gum to leave a 30kg dog, such as a Labrador, seriously ill. What causes xylitol poisoning in dogs? However, when non-primate species like dogs eat something containing xylitol, the xylitol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, resulting in a potent release of insulin from the pancreas. The … The first sign of xylitol ingestion is typically vomiting. Xylitol is extremely toxic to our pups. Xylitol is safe for people, but because people have different metabolisms then animals, xylitol can be fatal for cats and dogs. Xylitol is safe for use in people, although like most sugar alcohols, it may have a mild laxative effect when eaten in large amounts or when first introduced to a diet. But for dogs, xylitol poisoning is a major problem, according to Ahna Brutlag, DVM, associate director of veterinary services at Pet Poison Helpline. Hypoglycemia can develop even if as little as >0.1 gram/kilogram is ingested, according to ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. This occurs because xylitol may not be completely digested in the intestines until the digestive system adapts. Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar replacement with many health benefits, including the prevention of issues such as cavities and ear infections. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that was first discovered in the late 19th century and was first used as a safer alternative to sugar for diabetic patients. With xylitol poisoning, it is imperative to calculate whether a toxic dose has been ingested. If dogs ingest xylitol, they run the risk of going into hypoglycemic shock. If your dog has ingested xylitol, contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Poison Control Center immediately. Some dogs ingesting xylitol at dosages >500 mg/kg (227 mg/lb) may develop severe hepatic insufficiency or failure, the mechanism of which is unknown. Xylitol is about as sweet as sucrose, but contains only about two-thirds of the calories. It's innocuous for people, but actually severely poisonous to canines. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure or even death in dogs. Some brands of gum contain fairly small amounts of xylitol, and it would take up to 9 pieces of gum to result in severe hypoglycemia in a 45 pound (20 kg) dog, while 45 pieces would need to be ingested to result in liver failure. Blood work should be monitored frequently to make sure that blood sugar and liver function remain normal. Even the smallest amount of xylitol can threaten your dog’s life, proving just how dangerous this substance is for dogs. Since xylitol toxicity can cause both low blood glucose and low potassium levels, your veterinarian will perform blood work to determine whether these problems need to be treated. A presumptive diagnosis of xylitol poisoning is made if you know or suspect that the dog ate something containing xylitol, and there are symptoms of hypoglycemia. ©Copyright VCA Hospitals all rights reserved. Humans can safely consume it, but it’s deadly to dogs the same way alcohol or chocolate can be. If insulin concentrations are too high, blood glucose levels can drop to a dangerously low level (hypoglycemia). Untreated, this hypoglycemia can be life-threatening. With any poisoning, prompt decontamination and treatment is always warranted, as it's less dangerous to your pet, and less expensive for you to treat early! The higher the dose ingested, the more the risk of liver failure. Xylitol can also cause liver damage in dogs. This triggers an excessive release of insulin, resulting in the removal of dangerous amounts of sugar from the bloodstream, or canine hypoglycemia. The fact that xylitol is dangerous for your dog might make you hesitant to use it. In most mammals, xylitol has no significant effect on insulin levels, but in dogs, xylitol stimulates a rapid, dose-dependent insulin release that can result in profound hypoglycemia. At prescribed doses, these should not result in xylitol poisoning; however, if ingested in large amounts, can potentially result in poisoning. If clinical signs have developed, treatment will be based on the symptoms that are being shown. It is important to get treatment for your dog as quickly as possible. We’re committed to keeping clients and staff safe during COVID-19 with NEW admittance and check-out processes. That can lead to hypoglycemia, an extreme reduction in the amount of blood sugar. Xylitol is a common sugar substitute that can be toxic to dogs in even small amounts and it can be fatal. Contributors: Ahna Brutlag, DVM, MS, DABT, DABVT, Associate Director of Veterinary Services, Pet Poison Helpline, *Pet Poison Helpline, is an animal poison control service available 24 hours, seven days a week for pet owners and veterinary professionals who require assistance treating a potentially poisoned pet. Know the signs and symptoms, and be ready to act quickly should your dog accidentally gobble up desserts, gum (even left on the street), or sugar-free peanut butter. In dogs, xylitol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and results in a large insulin release, which triggers the symptoms mentioned above. may react to xylitol in a similar manner as dogs. Xylitol consumption is considered harmless to people but is known to cause life-threatening toxicoses in dogs. Xylitol has a serious impact on the way a dog manages their blood sugar and can lead to a dangerous drop in … This effect is not seen in people who eat xylitol. Some brands reportedly contain as much as one gram in each piece. Within 15 to 20 minutes, they might even be comatose, she adds, and depending on the amount consumed, a dog can also experience liver failure from ingesting xylitol. Alcohol: Beverages and food products with alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, coma, and even death if ingested by your dog. Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs. Pet Poison Helpline is available in North America by calling 800-213-6680. Xylitol is very dangerous for dogs. Chemically, it is a sugar alcohol, and found naturally in berries, plums, corn, oats, mushrooms, lettuce, trees, and some other fruits. As there is a large range of xylitol in each different brand and flavor of gum, it is important to identify whether a toxic amount has been ingested. Rapid diagnosis and treatment is imperative! That tragedy echoed an example which first reached us in May 2007 and reminds us that Xylitol has been known to be potentially toxic to dogs for a number of years now: While Xylitol is safe for humans, it can be harmful to dogs. In humans and dogs, blood sugar levels are determined by the amount of insulin released from the pancreas into the bloodstream. Fast and aggressive treatment by your veterinarian is essential to effectively reverse any toxic effects and prevent the development of severe problems. Actually, Xylitol is more dangerous for dogs than cats. Most dogs do recover even with large xylitol ingestions, but veterinary intervention is often required. Interestingly, it seems that while some breeds are greatly affected by xylitol, others don’t have a problem, but more research is being done to obtain more information. In some cases, xylitol can be deadly to dogs. Xylitol Poisoning in Dogs. If dogs ingest xylitol, they run the risk of going into hypoglycemic shock. Though safe for humans to consume, even in large quantities, it’s extremely toxic to dogs. There is no antidote for xylitol toxicity, although treatment with sugar supplementation, IV fluids, and liver protective drugs are beneficial. Their bodies aren’t able to metabolize it the same as you and me, and as such is extremely dangerous for them. Additional information can be found online at www.petpoisonhelpline.com. In all cases, your dog will require hospitalization for blood sugar monitoring, dextrose administration, intravenous fluids, liver protectants, and any other supportive care that may be needed. Other symptoms include lethargy, collapse, seizures, and ataxia. It’s clear than humans can consume many foods that dogs cannot—xylitol isn’t any different. The prognosis is good for dogs that are treated before clinical signs develop, or for dogs that develop uncomplicated hypoglycemia that is quickly reversed. Example products include sugar-free gum, candies, breath mints, baked goods, pudding snacks, cough syrup, children's chewable or gummy vitamins and supplements, mouthwash, and toothpaste. Dogs that develop liver failure from xylitol poisoning often show signs of hypoglycemia. Though safe for humans, xylitol can be deadly to dogs and other pets. This, in turn, results in a dangerously low blood sugar level and symptoms such as weakness, trembling, seizures, collapse, and even death. Do not share any food that may contain xylitol with your pets. Symptoms of xylitol poisoning develop rapidly, usually within 15-30 minutes of consumption. Dog owners should know that xylitol can be toxic to dogs, even when the relatively small amounts from candies are eaten. Safely out of reach of your pets polar opposite effect pancreas to release insulin an release. Never one made for human use, although treatment with sugar supplementation, iv,! 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