The Dangers of Xylitol Ingestion

May 24, 2011 @ 10:53 AM — by Ridgewood Veterinary Hospital

By Dr. Joanne Healey


The number of Xylitol exposures reported to the Animal Poison Control has drastically increased in the past four years. In 2002 there were 2 cases; 2003 - 23 cases; 2004 - 91 cases; 2005 - 240 cases; 2006 - 711 cases; 2007-1914 cases and 2008 expected to double the 2007 numbers.

Xylitol is a sugar substitute that is present in many products including sugar-free gum, mints, baked goods, toothpaste, and oral rinse. Xylitol ingestion is safe in humans but potentially life threatening in our doggie friends. Xylitol products were originally thought to cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in dogs, but new research adds acute liver failure, clotting disorders, seizures and death to the list when ingested.

Many Americans are embracing the low carbohydrate/low glycemic diets (i.e., South Beach) which endorse these products. However, even gum with Xylitol ingested by Fido can lead to serious consequences. Knowledge is power; please be aware of the hidden dangers of Xylitol and keep sugar free products out of reach of your pets. If eaten, immediate veterinary care is recommended to induce vomiting and to monitor blood sugar, liver enzymes, electrolytes and clotting factors. A safe home environment for our beloved animal friends is a healthy home. Please inform your friends and help us make our pet community safe from Xylitol.

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