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Say No to Xylitol- Memphis Area Pet Health

Posted 07.08.15 by Emily Lindsey

MunnLately there has been a lot of discussion on xylitol. “Never heard of it,” you may say. Turn over a pack of gum out of your purse or pocket and you will more than likely see it listed under ingredients.

Dr. Christina Munn, DVM is here to fill us in on why it can be toxic to dogs.

Xylitol is a very common artificial sweetener used in many human food products like chewing gum & candy. There has recently also been concern that xylitol is being added to some forms of peanut butter, which we commonly use as a treat for our dogs or to disguise a pill.

Xylitol is quickly absorbed into our pet’s bloodstream, within 30 minutes after eating it. It causes a fast drop in blood sugar (hypoglycemia), but can also cause liver damage, bleeding, seizures, coma and even death.

For a 10 lb dog, low blood sugar can occur with just 1 stick of gum (0.3 grams of xylitol). Liver damage or failure can occur after eating just 10 pieces of gum (1 gram of xylitol), less than one pack.

Signs of xylitol toxicity are vomiting, lethargy or weakness, diarrhea, collapse, and seizures.


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If you suspect your dog has ingested xylitol call you veterinarian right away! There is no antidote to xylitol ingestion. Early treatment gives the best outcome. If early enough (within 30 minutes), your vet may want to make the pet vomit the source of xylitol. They may need to administer an IV drip containing sugar to combat the quick drop in blood sugar. The liver enzymes and clotting factors in your pet’s blood may also need to be checked.


The easiest way to keep your dog from eating xylitol is to keep it out of your home. Check the labels on your foods, especially ones that say ‘low sugar’ or ‘sugar free’. If you are going to have it in your home, keep products containing xylitol high out of reach from your pets, and educate your friends and family who come to visit that xylitol is dangerous to your pet and not to give them any treats containing it.

You can contact the ASPCA Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435 for help as well.


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