Many of us are trying to eat better and live healthier these days. Maybe your New Year’s Resolution was to get rid of the sugary and fatty foods that were the staples in your diet. Food manufacturers are trying to make it easier to do this, without giving up the foods we love.
Sugar-free foods have become commonplace over the last decade, perfect for those suffering from diabetes or the health-conscious. However, just because we can consume it, doesn’t mean our dogs should. In fact, there are quite a few natural foods that are fine for humans to eat but not dogs – cacao for example. Xylitol sweetener is another one whose effects can be serious, up to and including death.
What is Xylitol?
According to the Xlear website, Xylitol is a natural sweetener derived from several sources, though corn stalks and cobs is the most common. Humans also produce Xylitol as a by-product of our metabolism process (www.xlear.com).
Where is Xylitol Found?
Xylitol is one of the most popular sugar substitutes and can be found in everything from gum, mints, and candy, to toothpaste, oral rinse, and floss. It can also be bought and used for home baking. Spry® is one of the main brands that is Xylitol based, but many brands are using it as a sweetener, especially natural and allergen friendly products. If a product is labeled “sugar free” or “diet,” check the ingredients for Xylitol.
What are the symptoms of Xylitol poisoning?
The range of symptoms for Xylitol poisoning in dogs is wide. Dogs may develop a sudden drop in blood sugar, which can cause depression, loss of coordination, and/or seizures.
When the symptoms show up may depend on the amount of Xylitol your dog ingests. Dr. Dunayer from The Animal Poison Control Center of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says that symptoms can appear anywhere from 30 minutes to 12 hours. So even if your dog seems fine, continue to monitor your pet for the next day just to be safe. (www.avma.org)
What do I do if my Dog Ingests Something Containing Xylitol?
If you see any of the above listed symptoms, or other signs of illness, discomfort, or your pet is just not acting like herself, contact a vet immediately. In cases like this, it’s better to err on the side of caution and find out your pet is fine, than to not go to the vet and end up with a very sick pet.