When xylitol is consumed by a dog it will trigger a sudden release of insulin, which in turn will cause a dramatic drop in their blood sugar. This basically puts the dog into a form a shock. Their blood sugar can drop so drastically within a half hour that it can cause shock and liver failure shortly afterwards. Xylitol has a fast acting nature and a dog can become critical within an hour after consumption. The amount of sweetener contained in a product varies by the manufacturer and the product. To give you an idea of how toxic if can be: it can take as little as three grams of xylitol to kill a 65lb dog, which would roughly be equal to eight to ten pieces of chewing gum.
- What are the Signs and Symptoms of Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs?
- No coordination
- Seizures or body tremors
- Irregular heart rate
- Pale gums
The treatment for xylitol poisoning would begin with taking measures to stop the body from absorbing any more of it. This usually will consist of inducing vomiting and to give a charcoal based solution to absorb the stomach contents. Supportive care will also be necessary which will consist of an IV drip containing dextrose to help raise the dog’s blood sugar levels. Xylitol can also affect the dog’s liver as well and can even cause permanent liver damage. This may require additional blood work even after the dog has recovered.
If you are not sure if your dog consumed a product that contains xylitol, you can either check the products website or call the Poison Control Center for help. Remember you need to act quickly! You may also be advised to induce vomiting at home and then transport your dog to the nearest veterinary facility for treatment.
Pittsburgh Poison Center – 1-800-222-1222