An increasing number of dogs are ingesting xylitol through sugar-free gum and other sources. This is bad news because if left untreated, the pet will likely die, according to veterinarians. Symptoms include a weak appearance, vomiting, or extreme lethargy. A dog’s blood sugar can drop within 30 minutes of consuming xylitol and a pet can go into a coma.
The symptoms of xylitol poisoning can be observed anywhere from half an hour to 12 hours. The longer the pet goes without help, the worse the condition becomes. A dog’s liver can fail, which is a life-threatening situation.
In San Diego, California and San Marcos, Texas alone, there has been at least one or two incidents of xylitol poisoning every week for the past two to three months. If a dog has eaten sugarless gum, he needs to be taken to the vet right away. Your vet may induce vomiting to improve the situation. He will then watch your pet’s blood sugar for 12 to 24 hours and check the liver after two or three days.
Xylitol, which is found in fruits and also produced by the human body, has been shown to stop plaque growth and tooth decay in sugar-free gum. Humans absorb it slowly so it has little or no effect on our blood sugar or insulin levels. With dogs, however, it is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream, leading to a release of insulin and sudden plummet in blood sugar. This can cause liver failure, bleeding, and death.
Just two pieces of sugarless gum can be harmful or fatal to a 20-pound canine. One cup of pudding can be dangerous to a 90-pound pet. Aside from gum, xylitol is an ingredient in just about anything sugar-free, such as baked goods, candy, energy bars, brownies, cookies, muffins, Jell-O, ice cream, pudding, and toothpaste.
There are several products that contain xylitol, so be sure to keep these out of your pet’s reach for his safety.