Rocklin Ranch Veterinary Hospital’s Blog
Not So Sweet: Xylitol Poisoning in Pets
When you think of pet toxins, items like antifreeze and chocolate probably come to mind. Those things are definitely high on the list of “no-no’s” when it comes to your pet, but one of the most dangerous pet toxins can be found in your pantry, fridge, or medicine cabinet without you even realizing it.
Xylitol, a popular sugar substitute, is found in everything from cough drops to peanut butter to toothpaste, and it doesn’t take much to severely affect or even kill a pet. Keep reading to find out more about xylitol poisoning and what you can do to prevent it.
Xylitol is an alternative sweetener commonly used as a sugar substitute. This sugar-alcohol is naturally occurring in a variety of fruits, vegetables, and mushrooms, but is commonly extracted from corn fiber, birch trees, or hardwood trees. This wildly popular ingredient has a low glycemic index, making it ideal for diabetics or those following a low-sugar diet.
Unlike with humans, pets are unable to effectively process xylitol. The substance is absorbed rapidly (as quickly as 30 minutes) and triggers the pancreas to release a large amount of insulin all at once. The results of this insulin rush are a life-threatening drop in blood sugar and the potential for kidney failure.
Products that may contain xylitol include:
- Sugar-free candy and mints
- Sugar-free baked goods
- Cough drops
- Certain types of peanut butter
- Sugar-free chewable vitamins
- Nasal sprays
- Certain medications
The Best Medicine
As always, preventing your pet from getting into trouble in the first place is always the best course of action. To avoid a dangerous situation, keep all food items and personal care products out of your pet’s reach. Read all labels, and avoid buying products with xylitol whenever possible.