The fact that pets love treats and treats tends to benefit us most of the time. We all find them very useful when we want them to do something or simply offer them if they have earned a reward. Unfortunately, the same food-craving urge can also lead a pet to consume a non-animal treat or a product that is simply not good for their health, something that often happens on the street with dogs and at home with any pet by our own carelessness …

Like, for example, xylitol. Found in a variety of sugar-free candies, medications, oral hygiene products, and foods, this artificial sweetener can cause severe poisoning in most pets. Take note in the following lines because we tell you the possible risks that it may have for your life partner.

What is xylitol?

To clarify concepts, xylitol or xylitol is a widely used sweetener for making beverages, candies or chewing gums that do not contain sugar. It is obtained from birch or from a vegetable fiber called xylan and is a substitute for sugar.

Many are the dogs, cats and other pets that, either because we give it to them or accidentally, eat food with this sweetener, and can become ill from poisoning.

Xylitol: good for us …

This sweetener that is found naturally in various plants and trees, xylitol, is widely used by us humans. You can buy it in granular form, such as table sugar, to sweeten beverages, cereals, or baked goods. Surprisingly, xylitol doesn’t contribute to tooth decay like sugar does. In fact, it can reduce tooth decay by 30-85% in people.

Xylitol is ideal for people with diabetes and those on low-carbohydrate or weight-loss diets because it ranks very low on the glycemic index and does not raise blood sugar levels. In other words, none of the harmful side effects of sugar are present in xylitol.

… Bad for them

Thus, while xylitol has its recognized place in people’s everyday lives, it can be disastrous for animals. Specifically, dogs can be quickly poisoned by products containing xylitol. But why?

Xylitol is estimated to be approximately 100 times more toxic to dogs than chocolate. Even a very small amount found in a single sugarless gum can cause hypoglycemia or low blood sugar in dogs.

Their bodies mistake xylitol for glucose and the pancreas begins to produce insulin. This type of poisoning from pets such as cats and dogs can also lead to liver failure. If the incident occurs while the animal is alone, the unattended toxicity of xylitol could even cause its death.

Cats experience similar drops in blood sugar, but due to their pickier tastes, they rarely choose candy or baked goods.

Xylitol Poisoning in Animals: Symptoms to Watch Out For

If you know or suspect that your pet ate something with xylitol, seek urgent veterinary attention immediately. You may notice sudden or unusual weakness, loss of coordination, seizures, and collapse within 30 minutes or less.

With prompt intervention, pets can recover from the hypoglycemic stage with the help of intravenous fluids, close monitoring, and hospitalization. They may require close observation to detect liver disease as they age.

Products that may contain xylitol

Here are the types of products that, if ingested, can cause serious poisoning in pets. These are the most common culprits:

  • Toothpaste and mouthwash.
  • Peanut butter (many brands use more than peanuts in their spreads – watch out!).
  • Chewing gum, breath drops, and candy labeled “sugar-free.”
  • Jam or jelly.
  • Fruit drinks.
  • Jelly or pudding.
  • Cereal.
  • Muffins, cookies, or cakes (this by itself is never a good option for pets to try, as the high fat and sugar content even in normal baked goods can lead to pancreatitis)
  • Vitamins and chewable supplements.

Prevent Xylitol Poisoning of a Pet

Fortunately, with a little more foresight at home and away, you can definitely prevent xylitol poisoning of a pet. Here are some more tips:

  • Always keep products containing xylitol in closed cabinets, never within the reach of pets.
  • Read the labels of the foods you eat every day to find out which ones you should be more careful about.
  • Do not allow your pet to taste anything on the ground, in the park or anywhere you walk.
  • Act quickly when you suspect your pet has eaten xylitol.
  • Try to take any leftovers, or the box of the product that he has consumed, to the vet when you go to the consultation.

Our veterinarians are always at your disposal to help your pet. If you have any more questions about xylitol and preventing pet poisoning, please let us know.