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December 2021

Have You Heard of Xylitol Toxicity?

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When we talk about holiday hazards we often go to the common items: chocolate, tinsel, bones and light cords. However, with baking growing in popularity over the last 2 years we are seeing more, less common hazards such as Xylitol.

Xylitol is a sugar replacement and often found in gum, candies, breath mints, baked goods, gummy vitamins and toothpastes, among other products.  More and more people are incorporating xylitol in their home baking as it is lower in calories and lower on the glycemic index than sugar.

Xylitol may be a healthier alternative for some humans, but it is very toxic to dogs. It causes hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and can result in liver failure. Even small amounts such as 2 pieces of gum can cause severe hypoglycemia!

If your pet ingests an item containing xylitol contact the pet poison hotline (1-888-426-4435) and your veterinarian.

DO NOT cause your dog to vomit without direction from your veterinarian. Dogs that are already hypoglycemic, vomiting will make them much worse without proper supportive treatment and monitoring.

Symptoms are seen within 15-30 min of ingestion and include:

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty walking or standing
  • Lethargy
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Treatment can include: IV fluid therapy including sugar supplementation, liver protective drugs, blood tests and monitoring.

The prognosis for Xylitol toxicity guarded.

With the busy time of the holidays upon us, please be aware of the potential hazards in your home, where your pets are at all times and emergency numbers handy, just in case.

Wishing everyone a safe and healthy holiday season!


Your Veterinary Team at Bloor Animal Hospital