Sweetener Danger

everything you need to know about Xylitol

Last week, it was widely reported here in the UK that a beloved pet dog, Ruby, a healthy Hungarian Visla sadly died after cheekily stealing two brownies which contained Xylitol. Ruby became ill 36 hours later and deteriorated over the week that followed. 

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Ruby's devastated owner Kate was understandably left heartbroken, and despite having spent more than £10,000 in care, Ruby couldn't be saved and sadly passed away at The Royal Veterinary College, London of liver failure and a suspected stroke in October 2018.

Kate has been sharing her story to raise awareness for the dangers of dogs consuming natural sweeteners, and we wanted to show some support to this worthy cause and share what you need to know about Xylitol, and why it's so perilous for your pup.

You can read more about Kate's story here .

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is the name of a natural sugar substitute/artificial sweetener commonly found in a wide range of products like sugar-free chewing gum, sweets, mints, toothpaste & mouthwash (to name a few).

What is Xylitol made from?

Xylitol is a naturally occurring substance found in plants, including (in very small amounts) lots of fruits and vegetables. Generally Xylitol is extracted from birch wood and is used for medicinal purposes, and as a sugar substitute.

How is Xylitol used in medicine?

In human medicine, Xylitol is used to prevent middle ear infections (otitis media) in young children, and as a sugar substitute for people with diabetes. It is added to some chewing gums and other oral care products to prevent tooth decay and dry mouth, as well as being present in tube feeding formulas as a source of energy.

Why is Xylitol dangerous for my dog?

In dogs, the consumption of even small amounts of Xylitol can cause a sudden release of insulin in the body that leads to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Xylitol can also cause liver damage in dogs.  It's important if you suspect your dog has consumed Xylitol to seek veterinary help immediately.

What are the symptoms?

If you discover that your dog has managed to eat something containing Xylitol, please speak to your vet immediately as it's important to act fast to prevent serious illness or even death.

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The consumption of Xylitol hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) due to a sudden release of insulin in the body. Generally, your dog will display symptoms within 30 minutes of eating, and these can include vomiting, lethargy (tiredness), and/or lack of coordination. Some signs of toxicity can also be delayed for hours or even for a few days. 

Xylitol toxicity in dogs can be fatal if untreated so it's really important to speak to your vet as quickly as you can.

Monday 11th February 2019