Thursday, October 23, 2008

Xylitol Sweetner is Toxic to Dogs

A sugar substitute found in a variety of sugar-free and dietetic cookies, cupcakes, mints, candies, toothpaste and chewing gum is proving highly toxic, even fatal, to dogs.

It doesn't take a whole lot of xylitol, and the effects are so rapid that the window of opportunity to treat the dog is extremely small.

Within 30 minutes of consuming a small amount of a xylitol-sweetened product, dogs can experience a dramatic drop in blood sugar, and they usually begin vomiting, become lethargic and can have difficulty standing or walking. Some have seizures, develop internal hemorrhaging and lesions and suffer liver failure. As few as two or three sticks of xylitol gum could be toxic to a 20-pound dog.

Immediate and aggressive veterinary treatment, which includes glucose drips and IV fluids, has proved effective in many cases.

Pet owners need to be very careful because some dogs, get into just about everything and eat everything they find.