Recently, there was a two year old Golden Retriever by the name of Luna who was in the news because she had gotten into a package of sugarless gum (it was sealed but she broke the seal as well). Unfortunately, she had ingested enough of the xylitol that she suffered severe liver damage and her owners had to put her down. This blog is dedicated to the memory of Luna.
Xylitol is a natural sugar free sweetener and commonly used in many chewing gums, mints, puddings, gelatin snacks, baked goods, oral rinses, toothpastes, dental floss, cough syrup, and over the counter supplements such as sugar free multivitamins and fish oils. The amount of xylitol contained in those products varies.
Xylitol is toxic to dogs and can range from mild to severe, depending on the amount that is ingested. Ingestion of less than 0.1 gram/kg can result in an acute, life threatening low blood sugar or hypoglycemia within a 10 to 15 minute time span. If a larger amount is ingested, that can result in acute liver necrosis and liver failure.
Some common signs of xylitol poisoning in dogs includes:
Weakness, lethargy, collapse, vomiting, tremoring, seizures, jaundice, malaise, black tarry stool, and sometimes coma or even death
If you suspect xylitol poisoning, contact your veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian may induce vomiting, depending on your dog’s symptoms. The treatment may include monitoring of the blood sugar and liver values, IV fluids, sugar supplementation in IV fluids and liver protective drugs as needed. Depending on the amount of xylitol ingested, blood work may need to be reevaluated two or three days after discharge.
Do you have a number for a pet poison center? Here are a couple:
Disclaimer: This article is for informational only. It does not replace a consultation with a veterinarian and may not be used to diagnose or treat any conditions in your dog or cat.