The owner of a three-year-old Golden Retriever died from Xylitol poisoning. We’ve all heard Xylitol is harmful to dogs, but did you know just how lethal this is? If a dog even licks a piece of gum containing Xylitol it is lethal. In this dog, it was a piece of Ice Breaker gum, and it caused vomiting, seizures, and the dog to became unconscious and he was gone in less than 24 hours.
In people and dogs, the level of blood sugar is controlled by the release of insulin from the pancreas. In people, xylitol does not stimulate the release of insulin from the pancreas. However, when dogs eat something containing xylitol, the xylitol is more quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, and may result in a potent release of insulin from the pancreas.
This rapid release of insulin may result in a rapid and profound decrease in the level of blood sugar (hypoglycemia), an effect that can occur within 10 to 60 minutes of eating the xylitol. Untreated, this hypoglycemia can quickly be life-threatening.
Xylitol is lower in calories than sugar, this sugar substitute is also often labeled as sugar-free. Products that may contain xylitol include:
- chewing gum
- chocolate bars
- breath mints
- baked goods
- cough syrup
- children’s and adult chewable vitamins
- some peanut and nut butters
- over-the-counter medicines
- dietary supplements
- sugar-free desserts, including “skinny” ice cream
So, please be extra diligent and know how dangerous Xylitol is to our pets.