Xylitol is a natural, sugar-free sweetener commonly found in many chewing gums, mints, snacks, oral rinses, peanut butter, toothpaste, and supplements. Xylitol can be extremely toxic when eaten by dogs. The xylitol content of these products can vary widely depending on brand and flavor.
Signs of xylitol poisoning in dogs include:
- Black-tarry stool
- Coma or death
In dogs, ingestion of 1 gram per 20 pounds of body weight can cause an acute, life-threatening low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) within 10-15 minutes. Take the packaging with you when you see your veterinarian so the amount ingested can be determined. Ingestion of larger amounts can result in liver failure. Depending on the symptoms in your dog, vomiting may be induced by your veterinarian. Treatment includes monitoring of blood sugar and liver values, IV fluids, sugar supplementation in IV fluids, and liver protective drugs [e.g., milk thistle, S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe)], as needed. Activated charcoal does not reliably bind xylitol, therefore it is not recommended. Blood work (evaluating liver function) should be re-evaluated 2-3 days after discharge, depending on the toxic dose ingested.
Please keep all products containing xylitol out of reach from your pet. I see pets that have taken these products from lady’s purses quite commonly and I have also seen cases where children “shared” with the family dog.