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Is xylitol poisonous to dogs?

Labrador dog at the vet sleeping advice

You shouldn't feed your dog any human foods.

© Shutterstock

Many human foods are very bad for dogs, but xylitol is one of the worst. 

By Dr Hester Mulhall MA, VetMB, MRCVS

Published on the 12/08/2020, 13:10

Xylitol is a sweetener used instead of sugar in some human foods and medicines. It is extremely poisonous to dogs and must never be fed to them. It has a strong affect on the insulin levels in your dog and leads to very severe hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar) and sometimes liver failure and blood clotting disorders. Symptoms of hypoglycaemia include weakness, lack of coordination, depression, vomiting, seizures and even coma.

There are actually plenty of human foods that are toxic to our pets, which is why it is better to stick to specially made pet foods and treats. If your dog has consumed something containing xylitol, contact a vet practice immediately.

How much xylitol will kill a dog?

This will vary depending on each individual dog. Always contact a vet practice to let them know what time your pet ate xylitol (if known) and how much they ate. Keep hold of any packaging to help the vet work out how much they might have eaten. The vet will be able to calculate if this is likely to be a toxic dose (generally recorded at 75-100mg per kg) and advise what veterinary treatment is necessary.

How long does it take for xylitol to affect a dog?

The affects of xylitol on a dog may be seen within half an hour, but it can sometimes take longer.

How do you treat xylitol poisoning in dogs?

Do not attempt any home treatments and always take your dog to the vet regardless of how much they have consumed – and even if they seem fine at first. Take any packaging with you. If your pet is not yet showing signs and less than four hours have passed since they ate it, the vet might induce vomiting to try to bring up as much of it as possible. Your pet will often require hospitalisation for monitoring of their blood glucose levels, blood tests to check their liver and administration of intravenous fluids and sugars.

Can a dog survive eating xylitol?

Yes, if they are successfully stabilised and their liver has not been badly affected, then they are likely to recover. Dogs with more severe liver damage have a worse prognosis, but there is still a chance of survival.

Which peanut butters contain xylitol?

Peanut butter is one of the common foods that can contain xylitol. For brand specific information, check the list of ingredients or contact the manufacturer. Do not feed your pet peanut butter.

What brands contain xylitol?

Avoid feeding your pet any human food, so really it's irrelevant which brands xylitol is in. If your dog has consumed something by accident, check the list of ingredients and contact a vet practice, if you are unsure.

What is another name for xylitol?

It has the E number E 967. It is sometimes known as birch sugar or a range of other names including Xilitol and Meso-xylitol.

Is Dextrose the same as xylitol?

No, it isn't. Dextrose is a type of sugar whereas xylitol is a non-sugar sweetener.

Which is the least harmful artificial sweetener for dogs?

Do not give your pet any human foods, especially if they contain artificial sweeteners, natural sweeteners or sugar.

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