Thursday, September 29, 2011

Xylitol May Kill Your Dog!

What is Xylitol?
Xylitol is an organic compound. This sugar alcohol is used as a naturally occurring sugar substitute found in the fibres of many fruits and vegetables, including various berries, corn husks, oats, and mushrooms.It can be extracted from corn fibre,birch, raspberries, plums, and corn.

Xylitol was first derived from birch trees in Finland in the 20th century. It was first popularised in Europe as a safe sweetener for people with diabetes that would not impact insulin levels. It is advertised as "safe for diabetics and individuals with hyperglycemia.

What products include Xylitol?
Generally speaking candy, chewing gum, breath fresheners, smoking cessation aids such as nicotine gum, toothpastes, sunscreen, some vitamins, diet supplements and TIC TACS! Found some other products listed here:
Clen Dent, Spry, B-Fresh, Zapp, and XlearDent Xyliol Gums; Smart Sweet, Spry, and Robeir Breath Mints; PolySweet xylitol crystals; Micro Spray Vitamins, Xlear Nasal Wash, and tooth, gum, and canker sore protection with Squigle Enamel Saver Xylitol Toothpaste; Spry fluoride-free Mouthwasy and Toothpaste, and Epic Fluoride Alternative Toothpaste. Other products include: ChocoPerfection Dark Chocolate, La Nouba sugarfree Belgian Chocolates, Xyli-Floss, Twooth Timer brushing timer, and infant tooth gel; Trident sugarless gum; Rescue Remedy; breath fresheners;; sunscreen, and even some vitamins and diet supplements.

Why is it so dangerous?
When human beings consume xylitol, the sweetener is absorbed very slowly into the body without provoking any significant release of insulin. When a pet ingest products containing the deadly substance it absorbs xylitol extremely quickly, confusing its pancreas into pumping put a blast of insulin. That high level of insulin is however not necessary. In turn the insulin grabs up all the glucose and the pets blood sugar plummets. The result is a profound, life-threatening hypoglycemia. The first sign is usually vomiting, followed by lethargy, weakness, collapse, seizures, and, sometimes, death. (source here)

So how much is too much?
100 milligrams of Xylitol per kilogram of canine body weight.
As little as 3 grams of Xylitol (eight piece of chewing gum) is enough to kill a 65 pound dog. As little as two piece of gum could kill a terrier.(source here)

What are the warning signs?
Early warning signs for pets that ingest xylitol include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. The next stage could include seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few hours or days depending on ingested dosage. In Gracie's case induced vomiting within 30 minutes saved her life.

What should I do if my dog is exhibiting symptoms?
If you find that your dog has consumed a product containing xylitol as a sweetener, call your veterinarian immediately. If the dog is exhibiting symptoms, take the dog to the vet’s office right away. THAT IS AN EMERGENCY!

Is this a new issue?
Absolutely not. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) started warning against the dangers years ago. For more detailed articles click here , here and here. Ever since then there seems to be a dramatic increase in dog poisoning cases. Over the years more and more companies started including xylitol as a sweetener in its products. For humans, it is generally safe and even recommended for diabetics. It is also recognized because it has the same sweetness as sugar but with significantly fewer calories, and dentists will argue that it has been reported to prevent tooth decay (one reason it’s an ingredient in Trident gum). But again this is a perfect example of just because humans can have we should share with dogs. Different species. Different needs.

How can I prevent this?
To prevent xylitol poisoning, dog owners should be aware of products that often contain xylitol as a sweetener, and keep those products out of reach of their dogs.


If its human made candy. Your dog does NOT need it. Puppy eyes or not!

If you have children and dogs make sure to keep the candy away from the reach of the pet...and in most cases of the kids. Inform older children of the dangers so they don't leave it laying around not knowing the dangers. Tic Tacs seems harmless but they are not. A dogs liver was not created for this type of food.

And first and foremost, READ THE LABELS. Don't make assumptions. Pharmaceutical and chemical companies will amaze a bad doggy way!

Does that mean that all dogs are going to show symptoms?
Of course not. Not everyone is allergic to peanuts, sugar, milk products but the canine species at at more risk than the human species and you now know its not healthy for your pup. With high risk and zero reward why do it? Just because its naturally occurring doesn't mean it won't kill you. There are long lists of poisonous plants and mushrooms! Natural is not synonym for safe!

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