Dangers of Xylitol

howard Xylitol is a sugar substitute that contains fewer calories than sugar and has anti-cavity activity. These properties make it an ideal sweetener in sugarless gum for people. It is also present in other products such as chewable vitamins, candy for diabetics, and may be used in home baking. However there is one major problem for dog owners: xylitol can be extremely toxic to dogs. Just a few grams of xylitol (as little as 8-10 pieces of sugarless gum) can cause a precipitous and life threatening drop in blood sugar in a 60 pound dog. Small dogs can be affected by even a couple of pieces. Higher amounts of xytilol can result in liver damage. Seek veterinary care immediately if you think your dog has eaten a xylitol containing product. Treatment for recent ingestion may include evacuation of the stomach and hospitalization with IV fluids containing glucose for 24 hours. Liver problems may require more involved treatment. Be sure to check the ingredient label of any sugarless gum that you buy. Avoid products that contain xylitol and keep gum up and away where your dog cannot be tempted to get into it. Enjoy the spring weather with your canine companions and stay safe! Howard Robinson, DVM