Posted July 22, 2016
We all know that chocolate is bad for our pets. But did you know there’s an ingredient that is found in gum, candy and other household foods and products that is extremely toxic to pets? It’s called xylitol and it’s causing trouble for curious furry family members everywhere. By being aware of the products that have xylitol in them and of the harm it can cause, hopefully we can reduce the toxicities the veterinary community sees from xylitol.
Xylitol is a sugar substitute and has become very popular in the last several years. It’s primarily found in foods and products that are marketed to diabetics and people on low carbohydrate diets. It’s found in many sugar free gums and candies, but can even be found in dental products, some medicines/vitamins and even peanut butter. The list of products containing xylitol is too numerous to name, so be sure to check the ingredients of the gum, candy and dental products you and your family use. If you do use products containing xylitol, be sure to keep it away from your furry family member(s). Additionally, remember to put purses and backpacks away so that your pet cannot get access to a pack of gum or candy that may be found in there.
Xylitol causes a swift release of insulin in pets that can cause severe hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. This can happen within 30 minutes of ingesting a xylitol product, so veterinary care should be sought immediately for your pet. Signs of hypoglycemia are:
Xylitol is extremely toxic to our pets. By being aware of the products’ in your household that contain xylitol, and keeping them out of reach from inquisitive pets, you can hopefully prevent this toxicity from happening with your furry family members. If your pet does get into a product containing xylitol, seek veterinary care immediately. Remember that complications may arise when your regular veterinarian is closed, so it’s important to know where your closest Veterinary Emergency Clinic is located.
If you think you are having a pet emergency, contact the Veterinary Emergency Clinic of Central Florida at (407) 644-4449 to learn about our emergency pet care services.