If you’re a dog owner, you already know there are several human foods they cannot eat as they can cause illness, and in some case, even disease or death. One ingredient, in particular, is getting a lot of buzz because it’s an ingredient that can hide out in popular foods that dogs like: xylitol.
Xylitol is a naturally occurring alcohol that is extracted from birch trees and as a sweetener. It’s commonly found in chewing gum and recently in peanut butter.
Why Xylitol is Toxic to DogsXylitol can be toxic to dogs because it causes a rapid release of insulin and a decrease in blood sugar (hypoglycemia) within just 10-60 minutes of eating it.
Just as with humans, blood sugar is controlled by the release of insulin from the pancreas. However, while Xylitol does not stimulate this release in humans, it does in dogs because it gets rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, which triggers the pancreas to release insulin. Untreated, hypoglycemia in dogs can be life-threatening.
What You Can DoThis is why it is important to keep things that contain this chemical out of reach by storing xylitol or xylitol-containing foods in high-up cupboards or in containers they cannot open.
If you’re administering medications to your dog in peanut butter, be sure to purchase peanut butter that does not contain this ingredient.
Symptoms of Exposure to XylitolIf your dog eats, or has eaten, a food containing xylitol, they may experience disorientation, staggering, weakness, collapse, or even seizures. If your dog does ingest something that contains this chemical or you suspect it has, it best to contact your vet right away.
For more information on animal medications, an area we work in often at our compounding pharmacy, view our post here.
If you suspect your dog has consumed xylitol, it’s important to contact your local vet immediately.