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Xylitol and Dogs

The information below is from Wikipedia.  If you want to learn more about the risks of Xylitol for your dog, please contact us or read more at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xylitol#In_dogs

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol used as a sweetener. The name derives from Greek: ξύλον, xyl[on], "wood" + suffix –itol, used to denote sugar alcohols. Xylitol is categorized as a polyalcohol or sugar alcohol (alditol).  Xylitol is naturally found in low concentrations in the fibers of many fruits and vegetables, can be extracted from various berries, oats, and mushrooms, and can be produced by the action of yeast on the xylose contained in fibrous material such as corn husks and sugar cane bagasse. However, industrial production starts from xylan (a hemicellulose) extracted from hardwoods[10] or corncobs, which is hydrolyzed into xylose and catalytically hydrogenated into xylitol.

In some individuals, xylitol consumption is limited by gastrointestinal issues, including flatulence, osmotic diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome.[11] However, for many, the side effects are negligible. In one study, subjects consumed an average of 3.3 lbs (1.5 kg) of xylitol per month, with a maximum daily intake of over 400 grams without any negative effects..

In pets, xylitol can be extremely harmful and even deadly!

Xylitol and Dogs

Xylitol is often fatal to dogs. According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, the number of cases of xylitol toxicosis in dogs has significantly increased since the first reports in 2002. Dogs that have eaten foods containing xylitol (greater than 100 milligrams of xylitol consumed per kilogram of bodyweight) have presented with low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which can be life-threatening.  Low blood sugar can result in a loss of coordination, depression, collapse and seizures in as little as 30 minutes.  Intake of doses of xylitol (greater than 500 – 1000 mg/kg bwt) has been implicated in liver failure in dogs, which can be fatal.

Xylitol and Wild Birds

Thirty Cape sugarbirds died within 30 minutes of drinking a solution made with xylitol from a feeder in a garden in Hermanus, South Africa. It is suspected that it triggered a massive insulin release, causing an irreversible drop in blood sugar

Thanksgiving Safety for Pets

Below are some great holiday safety tip for pets from the AVMA:

  • Keep the Thanksgiving feast on the table—not under it.  Table scraps may seem like a fun way to include your pet in the holiday, but there are a number of hazards to feeding your pets from your plate. Many foods healthy for you are poisonous to pets, including onions, garlic, raisins and grapes. There are many healthy treats available for dogs and cats, so don’t feed them table scraps. Instead, make or buy a treat that is made just for them. Make sure the pet treat is not a part of any ongoing recall.
  • Put the trash away where your pets can’t find it.  A turkey carcass sitting out on the carving table or left in an open trash container or one that’s easily opened could prove deadly if the family pet eats it.  What your pet thinks is a tasty treat can cause a condition called pancreatitis, which is extremely dangerous and can cause death fairly quickly. Dispose of turkey carcasses in a covered, tightly secured container (or a trash can behind a closed, locked door) along with anything used to wrap or tie the meat and any bones left on plates.
  • No pie or other desserts for your pooch.  It can’t be said often enough, chocolate is poisonous to pets, and the darker it is the more deadly it is. It’s an important reminder, because many dogs find it tempting, and will sniff it out and eat it if they find it, including extremely dangerous baker’s chocolate. Also, an artificial sweetener called Xylitol has also been shown to be deadly if consumed by dogs.  Xylitol is a common sweetener used in baked goods and chewing gums.
  •  Quick action can save lives.  If you believe your pet has been poisoned or eaten something it shouldn’t have, call your veterinarian or local veterinary emergency clinic immediately.
  • Visitors can upset your pets.  Some pets are shy or excitable around new people, and Thanksgiving often means many new people will be visiting. If you know your dog or cat is overwhelmed when people visit your home, put them in another room or a crate with a favorite toy.  If your pet is particularly upset by houseguests, talk to your veterinarian about possible solutions to this common problem.
  • Watch the exits.  If your pets are comfortable around guests, make sure you watch them closely, especially when your guests are entering or leaving your home. While you’re welcoming hungry guests and collecting coats, a four-legged family member may make a break for it out the door and become lost. It’s also a good idea to make sure your pet has proper identification, particularly microchip identification with up-to-date, registered information, so that if they do sneak out, they’ll be returned to you.
  • Watch your pets around festive decorations. Special holiday displays or candles are attractive to pets as well as people. Never leave a pet alone in an area with a lit candle; it could result in a fire. Don’t forget that some flowers and festive plants can be hazardous if swallowed by your pet. Pine cones and needles can cause an intestinal blockage or even perforate the animal’s intestine.

Xylitol, Chocolate and Pets

Please don’t feed your pets candy during Halloween! They don’t need it so it’s better to be safe than sorry.  The AVMA strongly advises avoiding food with the two which often appear in candy

  1. Xylitol-containing products (xylitol is an artificial sweetener often found in sugar-free candy and gum);
  2. Chocolate

In the event that you pet does eat something that concerns you, please call us or the Pet Poison Hotline (they may charge a small fee for the call) at 800-213-6680)