My Dog Ate Xylitol What Should I Do?

Reviewed By Kyoko •  Updated: 07/15/22 •  3 min read
Dog Severe Toxicity Level
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My Dog Ate Xylitol What Should I Do?

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Do you use an artificial sweetener called xylitol? Do you use food products that contain xylitol? If so, you need to read this article. Xylitol can be toxic to dogs.

Has your dog eaten xylitol? Are you worried the xylitol will make your dog sick? If he has, you’ve come to the right place. We understand it can be scary when your dog eats something like this.

We’ve put together some information about xylitol and how it can make a dog sick. Let’s get started!

It is strongly recommended to contact a Pet Poison Helpline or your veterinarian.

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a natural sweetener that’s often used as a sugar substitute. The substance is a sugar alcohol that’s naturally found in berries, plums, corn, oat, mushrooms, lettuce, trees, and some fruits. When xylitol is created commercially, the substance is usually taken from corn fiber or birch trees.

After it’s been manufactured, xylitol looks like a white powder that’s similar to sugar. It even tastes like sugar. Many countries have approved the use of this substance in all types of products, from sugar-free gum, breath mints, baked goods, peanut butter, and more.

While xylitol is safe for humans, what about dogs? Can xylitol make dogs sick?

Xylitol and Dogs

Unfortunately, xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs. Even a small about of this substance can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, and other serious health issues, including death.

In humans, xylitol does not stimulate the production of insulin from the pancreas. However, in dogs, xylitol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, releasing a large amount of insulin from the pancreas. This is rapidly released and causes a huge drop in blood sugar. This can happen within 10 to 60 minutes of eating xylitol.

If not treated, xylitol toxicity can cause hypoglycemia, liver failure, and even death in dogs.

Symptoms of Xylitol Ingestion in Dogs

You may notice these symptoms if your dog has eaten xylitol:

Treatment of Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs

There is no antidote for xylitol toxicity in dogs. However, the vet may give your dog IV treatment with dextrose (glucose) and drugs that work to protect the liver. The vet may also induce vomiting and order blood tests to see what other problems your dog could be experiencing.

In most cases, your dog will need to be hospitalized until he’s stable. And he may require an IV for fluids and to administer medications.

It’s imperative that a dog receive treatment as soon as possible after eating anything that contains xylitol. Quick treatment can mean the difference between life and death.

The prognosis is best for dogs that receive prompt medical treatment. And as always, remember that prevention is the best medicine. Be sure to keep all foods and powders out of your dog’s reach.

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Kyoko is from a family of 3 and moved to New York with her parents and siblings when she was 13. Kyoko is fond of spending a great amount of time with pets, specifically her beagle Luna and cat Missy. Her boyfriend often complains that she spends too much time giving attention to their animals. Kyoko has written dozens of articles concerning pets and is aiming at owning a pet shop one day!

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