What if my dog ate xylitol? Surprising Answer

What are the signs of xylitol poisoning?

Initial signs of xylitol poisoning are typically due to low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and can develop within an hour of consumption. Signs of low blood sugar may include any or all of the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Lack of coordination or difficulty walking or standing
  • Weakness/sluggishness or lethargy
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • In severe cases, the dog may develop seizures or liver failure. Dogs that develop liver failure from xylitol poisoning may or may not show signs of hypoglycemia first.

    A presumptive diagnosis of xylitol poisoning is made if you know or suspect that the dog ate something containing xylitol, and there are signs of hypoglycemia or liver failure. Since clinical signs develop rapidly, your veterinarian will not generally wait for a confirmed diagnosis regarding the specific amount ingested before beginning treatment.

    Why is xylitol increasing in popularity and use?

    Xylitol has the same sweetness as sucrose but contains only about two-thirds the calories. As a sugar substitute, it is lower on the glycemic index, a scale that ranks carbohydrate-rich foods by how much they raise blood sugar levels, compared to glucose. Being lower on the glycemic index makes xylitol useful for diabetics or people on low carbohydrate diets.

    With respect to oral health, research has shown that xylitol helps reduce the formation of plaque, inhibits dental cavities, and stimulates the production of saliva.

    Xylitol is safe for use in people, although like most sugar alcohols, it may have a mild laxative effect when eaten in large amounts or when first introduced to a diet. This occurs because xylitol can pull water into the intestines, or it can be fermented by bacteria present in the intestines.

    Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure, or even death in dogs.

    Causes of Xylitol Poisoning in Dogs

    The cause of xylitol poisoning in dogs is the ingestion of xylitol. Though completely safe in humans and considered a good substitute for sugar, it is highly dangerous for canines.

    Xylitol can be toxic to canines due to these factors:

  • Xylitol is absorbed into the bloodstream of dogs very rapidly.
  • Xylitol stimulates insulin release, which causes a drop in blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
  • Hypokalemia (deficiency of potassium) and hypophosphatemia (low phosphate levels) cause further distress.
  • Xylitol causes poisonous effects that lead to liver damage.
  • Elevated liver enzymes can be evident 12 to 24 hours after your pet consumes a product containing xylitol.
  • Xylitol Poisoning In Dogs (7 symptoms And The Emergency Remedy)