With the holiday season approaching, it is important to remember that many of the foods we consume can be toxic to our furry family members. One of the newer toxins is a sugar substitute called xylitol. Xylitol can be found in sugar-free gums, candies, and baked goods. It has also recently been found as an ingredient in some peanut butter, which is particularly concerning as this is a very common food given to dogs.
Even at low doses, xylitol consumption in dogs can cause blood sugar levels to drop rapidly to dangerously low levels. At slightly higher doses, xylitol can cause liver failure.
Signs of low blood sugar can develop anywhere from as early as 30 minutes up to 12-18 hours post-ingestion. Signs that you may see at home include vomiting, weakness, wobbly gait, seizures and even coma. Clinical signs of liver failure may take up to 48 hours to develop.
If you are concerned, your pet may have consumed xylitol contact your veterinarian immediately. If it was a recent ingestion and the animal is not showing any clinical signs, the veterinarian may induce vomiting. If the animal is starting to show signs of ingestion, hospitalization and supportive care may be needed.
Written by Fairmont Animal Hospital