The Dangers of Xylitol
Courtesy of Jill Flynn
professional pet photographer
People are rushed during the holiday season. Something as simple as placing your purse on the floor with chewing gum or candy tucked inside. Curious pets, pets that like to chew anything and everything, puppies, and pets that snoop, all of these things can make them easy targets for chewing on deadly gum and candy packages.
Most everyone by now knows that chocolate should be kept out of reach of pets. But it's not just chocolate. It's any type of candy, gum or food that contains Xylitol.
Artificial sweeteners contain ingredients even more dangerous than chocolate.
The main culprit is the artificial sweetener, Xylitol. Xylitol is found in gums like Orbit.
What makes this ingredient dangerous is that, although the human body can metabolize these complex molecules the canine body is unable to do so. It seems that once they contact Xylitol in particular, it tastes so sweet that they find it literally irresistible.
The complex un-metabolizable molecule is actually a sugar alcohol and not a true sugar. Due to its inability to be broken down like normal sugars by the liver and pancreas in the canine body, causes the kidneys to filter it out like other unprocessable substances. However; the action of the kidneys is not enough to prevent the level of Xylitol in the blood from reaching a critical level. The animal will then experience an overdose, even from a single piece of gum. The net effect of all this leads to a Grand Mals type seizure within 24 hours of ingestion.
The animal may experience as many as 3 more seizures within a 24 hr. period. These symptoms are caused by an apparent acute onset of hypoglycemia, which causes lack of coordination, collapsing and seizure. If your pet ingests a product with Xylitol, please go straight to your vet or if after hours, to the nearest Animal Emergency Hospital.
This holiday, please keep in mind the potential dangers Xylitol can cause. We recommend knowing your veterinary clinics business hours and if closed during an emergency, knowing your nearest emergency hospitals telephone number and exact location.
Happy Holidays and thanks for taking such great care of your pets!