What is xylitol?

Xylitol is a sugar substitute which is highly toxic for dogs, even the smallest of doses can be enough to kill. It can be found in products such as sugar-free sweets, toothpaste, mouthwash and peanut butter. Products which state “no added sugar” or “sugar free” are particularly high risk as they often contain xylitol.

In 2016, there were over 250 cases of xylitol poisoning in dogs, with most of these coming from chewing gum. The chemical is completely safe for us humans but with dogs it can cause blood sugar levels to drop dramatically, liver damage and even death.


My dog has eaten xylitol, what should I do?

If you suspect that your dog has eaten a product containing xylitol, you need to take them directly to the vets as it is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. If the vet is able to bring the blood sugar levels back to normal quickly, then your dog should be ok. The longer it takes to get your dog to the vets the higher the risk of permanent damage to your dog.

How do I know if my dog has eaten xylitol?

Common symptoms of xylitol poisoning are;

  • Collapse
  • Lathargy
  • Disorientation
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Coma

If your dog has any of these symptoms, take him straight to the vets.

The new tax on sugar in the UK means that xylitol will become more common in products so please ensure that any high risk products are well out of reach of your dog.

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