Xylitol poisoning in pet dogs

Hello to all of you Canine lovers!

Today our voice is with you to raise awareness of an issue that we believe could be potentially lethal to your beautiful pet.

That issue is the rise of the sugar substitute Xylitol. You may have heard of it and it may even be in you cupboards right now.

This seemingly harmless sweetener is found in a variety of foods and has no threatening adverse effects on humans. However- If ingested by your Dog, the effects could lead to a rapid decline in your pooch’s health and potential death by poisoning.

All of us here at Hounds of Hackney, would you believe, absolutely LOVE any and all Dogs. At our core – we want to stimulate their wellbeing by keeping them calm, happy and active. The very thought of any of the above just makes us shudder in horror which is why we are raising awareness today.

Although Xylitol has been used as a sugar substitute for decades, it’s popularity has increased dramatically in the last few years as a healthier alternative. Unfortunately, the spike in use has led to a massive increase in canine deaths – now hitting the thousands.

There are many reasons as to why its popularity has soared. It has a low glycaemic index which means it’s a better option for diabetics and has dental plaque fighting qualities. Due to this, it has been approved for use in lots of oral care products, pharmaceuticals and as a food additive.

Here is a list of some products that may contain the sweetener;

  • Sugar-free gum
  • Breath mints
  • Baked goods
  • Toothpaste/mouthwash
  • Cough syrup/children’s chewable vitamins
  • Puddings/sweets/sugar free deserts
  • Peanut butter/nut butters/yoghurt/takeaways
  • Allergy medication/digestive aids/over the counter nasal sprays

Even small amounts of Xylitol can cause Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), seizures and liver failure. When non-primates eat something containing Xylitol, it is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, resulting in a potent release of insulin from the pancreas. This rapid release causes a profound decrease in the level of blood sugar.

The most common cause of poisoning is sugar free chewing gum as it is easily ingested off the floor whilst on a walk – although it is best to remember that not all chewing contains it.
Some symptoms to look out for are; Weakness, lethargy, vomiting, tremors, disorientation, jaundice.

If you feel like your pet has come into contact with Xylitol, get in touch with your vet immediately. There are lots of out of hours services available and in cases where your pet has eaten something containing the poison but isn’t displacing any symptoms – it is imperative that you get them checked out due to its toxicity.

In terms of prevention in your home; try to familiarise yourself with any products that contain it and keep them locked away.

Be wary of how you get your pet to take any medication. For example; if you use peanut butter!

Also, be sure to only use pet toothpaste and not human toothpaste when cleaning your canine’s teeth.

Outside of your home, talk about it with non-pet owners and pet owners a like. Not everyone is aware of Xylitol or the effects of throwing chewing on the floor. Spreading the word will absolutely make a difference.

Change can and will happen over time.