dog owners beware

Of xylitol. Seriously. I had no idea. 

While people may consume tons of this common sweetener, just a small amount can kill your dog very quickly.

Xylitol is growing in popularity and found in many products, from toothpaste to gum and baked goods. It has replaced many other sweeteners because it has fewer calories than sugar and doesn’t affect blood sugar levels, so it is a good alternative for diabetics. 

But like chocolate, dogs don’t have the ability to metabolize xylitol and it turns toxic in their systems. Even small amounts can send a dog’s blood sugar “plummeting to life-threatening lows in just minutes.”

Timing is critical. A top veterinary toxicologist suggests that if you suspect xylitol ingestion or your dog exhibits certain symptoms, get your dog to the vet ASAP and tell them you suspect xylitol poisoning, so they can monitor glucose levels and administer glucose intravenously. Treatment is most successful in the first hour or two… 

So please be aware what you feed your dog and what s/he gets into, as well as when you might have a problem and how to report it as quickly as possible. 

This came as a complete shock to me. We don’t have a dog at the moment, but we will again some day. One of our old dogs had a habit of getting into just about everything and was brought to the vet on several occasions after pushing our gate open and trolling the neighborhood garbage — once after ingesting illicit brownies and once after gorging on turkey bones the day after thanksgiving. And we take very good care of our pets, I assure you. It happens though. Dogs really like food.

Consider this a warning. 

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~ by luna on September 21, 2008.

2 Responses to “dog owners beware”

  1. I just saw this a few weeks ago, and although I’m up to speed on the other dog allergies, had never heard of this. I also checked labels and don’t think we have any in the house, but that’s not to say they won’t find it on a walk, or a neighborhood kid won’t think they’re doing our dogs a favor by letting them snack on something over the fence. Both of my dogs have had their stomachs pumped for raisins, so I know these things, and also know dogs are pretty determined beings when their minds are set on food.

  2. Wow, I had never heard of this either. Our dogs fortunately don’t eat table food, so their risks would be quite rare…. but it’s very good to know at any rate.

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