While xylitol has many health benefits for humans, xylitol is dangerous for your household pets. Xylitol can act as a blood sugar stabilizer in humans. In animals, it actually causes a quick and severe drop in blood sugar levels.
This can cause your animals to go into a state of depression, vomiting, loss of coordination, and seizures. In large quantities, xylitol can even result in death.
The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center advises pet owners to avoid offering their animals food meant for human consumption, and to be especially diligent in keeping sweets, gum or other foods containing xylitol out of the reach of pets. Signs your pet may have ingested xylitol may appear as early as 30 minutes after ingestion. As with any potentially toxic substance, should accidental exposures occur, it is important to contact your local veterinarian for immediate assistance.
Here is a list of other common household items which are potentially dangerous for your pets.
Alcoholic beverages, avocado, chocolate, coffee, fatty foods, macadamia nuts, mouldy or spoiled foods, onions, garlic, raisins and grapes, salt, yeast dough, ibuprofen, vitamins, diet pills, and other medications. Common household plants (lilies, rhubarb, mushrooms, oleander, rhododendron), Antifreeze, household cleaners.
While accidents do happen, taking the proper precautions can make you and your pets safer. We want you to be healthier through using xylitol and other health products, but don’t forget to prevent accidents from happening.
In dogs, xylitol causes a massive rapid and dose-dependent release of insulin from pancreatic beta-cells. Following insulin release, clinically significant hypoglycemia followed by signs of vomiting, weakness, ataxia, mental depression, hypokalemia, hypoglycemic seizures, and coma can develop. Clinical signs associated with xylitol ingestion can develop within 30 minutes of ingestion, and can last for more than 12 hours, even with aggressive treatment. Additionally, there have been several anecdotal reports of acute hepatic failure after ingestion of xylitol.
It is recommended that pets that experience symptoms be taken to a veterinarian or local emergency clinic for evaluation. Treatment may include hospitalization and intravenous fluids with dextrose supplementation. Some pets can remain symptomatic and may maintain a low blood sugar for several hours.
Sugarless candies can be toxic to pets. Candies containing xylitol have been recognized by the National Animal Poison Control Center to be a risk to pets. This information was first published in July 2004. This compound can cause liver damage and death in dogs susceptible to being poisoned with xylitol. If your dog ingests sugarless candy it would be best to contact your local veterinarian or local emergency clinic. It is possible your vet will not be familiar with this source of poisoning as this information is fairly new and candies have not usually been associated with poisonings in dogs if they did not contain chocolate as the major ingredient.