Dogs and Xylitol Poisoning
You’ve probably heard that chocolate is toxic to most dogs. But did you know that the sweetener known as xylitol can also harm your pooch’s health?
Xylitol is typically found in toothpastes, sugar-free gums, low carb baked goods and desserts. It’s also available as a powdered sweetener and is recommended substitute for diabetics and people watching their carbohydrate intake. While this food additive has no side effects in humans, it does seem to adversely affect some dogs.
In low doses, xylitol increases insulin production in a canine’s pancreas which in turn severely lowers blood sugar levels. This in turn results in weakness, vomiting, staggered movements and even seizures. These symptoms occur within half an hour of ingestion.
Higher doses may give rise to the same symptoms, but also include potential liver failure. And when liver failure occurs, toxins build up in the body, which causes bleeding to occur in the lungs and other body cavities and, to a lesser extent in the gums and the whites of the eyes.
The outcome of excess xylitol ingestion is often death. Unfortunately, though, it’s next to impossible to say how much of this sweetener causes toxicity in any given dog. Amounts as low as .07 grams per pound of body weight could be deadly to your pooch. Age, previous medical conditions and how quickly an affected pet gets seen by a vet also play a role in whether a dog will survive or not.
The DVMs at Austin Pet and Bird Clinic are experts in handling emergency cases of pet poisoning. Regardless of whether your four-legged canine pal has ingested xylitol or some other harmful substance, we can help. When every second counts, why give your dog anything less than the very best care?
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