An edited transcript of the video is provided below:
Today’s blog is all about xylitol. We’re going to talk about what it is, how it can affect your dog, and ways you can prevent your dog from ingesting this and getting very, very sick from it.
Xylitol is a natural sugar substitute and it’s used in a lot of human products. It is great for diabetics because it tastes sweet without causing the subsequent rise in blood sugar. It also has reported dental benefits so we’re finding it in a lot more products because it actually has some really good properties to it.
The problem, though, is that this substance is extremely toxic to dogs. It became a big problem when we started finding it in substances like peanut butter because we use peanut butter all the time to give to dogs as a reward or to hide a pill. So, once it got into the peanut butter, it really became a major, major issue. This is a great example of how a natural substance can be safe for humans, but is not always safe for our pets. So remember, just because it’s natural, doesn’t mean it’s safe.
What xylitol does is it causes the dog’s pancreas to think there’s been a rapid spike in blood sugar. This tricks the pancreas in to releasing a lot of insulin and insulin takes the body’s natural blood sugar and bring that sugar down from the bloodstream into your cells to feed them. But the problem is xylitol can’t be used as a blood sugar, so insulin is just getting rid of all the real sugar and that causes a sudden drop in your dog’s blood sugar level. At very low dosages after eating xylitol the dogs will just get a little bit wobbly and stagger. At higher dosages, they’ll start to have seizures, go in to a coma, and they can die in as little as 30 minutes with this. It gets rapidly absorbed and causes a rapid drop in their blood sugar which is very dangerous. It can also cause their liver to completely shut down. If they don’t die from low blood sugar they can die from their liver failing.
We all know that chocolate is very, very toxic to dogs, but xylitol is even more toxic. The Preventive Vet actually created a graphic for this which clearly shows how toxic chocolate is compared to the xylitol-containing products.
And you can see in a ten pound Yorkie it only takes three pieces of xylitol-containing gum to cause death. And I do applaud Dr. Jason Nicholas at the preventivevet.com for creating the awareness about this new problem. The ASPCA Poison Control is getting more and more calls every single day regarding these toxicities.
One of the ways you can actually help to prevent your dog and future dogs from being exposed to xylitol is to sign a petition to label products that contain xylitol. Because this is not only found in peanut butter and gums and mints and candies, but it’s also being found in ketchup and barbecue sauce and in facial products and oral rinses. It’s in basically everything. The problem is just nobody knows that 1) it is extremely toxic and 2) That it’s in these products. There is a petition to help encourage companies to label their products to say that it contains xylitol and that it is toxic to pets. If you go to the Preventive Vet website and sign the petition this will help get that labeling going. You can also learn more about xylitol toxicity on the Preventive Vet website. There is a very comprehensive list of over 700 products that contain xylitol and that list is getting updated almost every single day. Also, check all the products, gums, mints, candies, and peanut butter that you have in your house right now. Make sure it doesn’t have xylitol and if it does, I would throw it out. It doesn’t take much to be very, very toxic and potentially fatal to your pets.
If your dog has ingested anything with xylitol in it get them immediately to an emergency hospital or in to us so we can induce vomiting, give them activated charcoal, start flushing out their system, and give them dextrose (sugar) to keep their blood sugar high so they don’t end up having any of those problems we discussed above. If you have any questions about this, feel free to give us a call -760-633-2254. Once again, I’m Dr. Brian Evans. Thanks for joining us.