Xylitol: the sweet killer

Xylitol is a popular artificial sweetener that is used in gum, mints, chewable vitamins, oral-care products, toothpaste, and other sugar-free packaged foods, and is also available in powder and granular form for home baking and as a sweetener for cereals and beverages. While xylitol is considered safe in people, dogs can develop serious, even life-threatening, signs from xylitol ingestion.

After xylitol ingestion, vomiting is usually the intial sign. Hypoglycemia may develop within 30 to 60 minutes or may be delayed for up to 12 hours. Liver failure may occur with or without hypoglycemia from 9 to 72 hours after exposure. The clinical signs may progress rapidly from lethargy to stumbling, collapse and seizure.

Other artificial sweeteners, such as saccharin, aspartame, and sucralose, are generally regarded as safe for dogs, but it is safer to not let pets have access to sweets of any kind.

If you love your dog, please don’t use xylitol or have products containing xylitol within your dog’s reach.

If you think your dog has ingested any product containing xylitol, contact your veterinarian immediately! Even small amounts can be deadly.

Xylitol’s effect on cats is unknown.