Many products for human use contain the artificial sweetener xylitol, which can be beneficial for dental health, diabetes, and decreasing ear infections in children. However, despite the positive effects of xylitol in humans, it is toxic in dogs and often results in death. It is important to be able to recognize products that commonly contain xylitol so you can avoid the toxic effects of xylitol in dogs. Learn more about the effects of xylitol to help keep your canine patients safe and healthy.
Common Products that Contain Xylitol
Xylitol can increase dental health, so it is commonly found in toothpaste, chewing gum, and breath mints. Xylitol also acts as a natural sweetener and is added to many candies, baked goods, cereals, and beverages to decrease their sugar content. This makes xylitol an excellent sugar substitute for diabetic humans.
Often, xylitol is added to over the counter liquid medications to make them more palatable. When you choose to have your medications compounded, make sure that there is no xylitol in the flavoring before prescribing it to you canine patient.
Toxic Effects of Xylitol in Dogs
When dogs ingest xylitol, it causes a greater release of insulin vs glucose, which puts them at a much higher risk for hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia can result in lethargy, loss of coordination, collapse, seizure, and death.
Canine xylitol ingestion can also cause an increased risk of bleeding, bruising, and gastrointestinal hemorrhages. In some cases, dogs who ingest xylitol may also experience increased liver enzymes and acute liver failure.film The Hundred-Foot Journey download
Be Informed About Xylitol!
Xylitol can be very beneficial for human consumption. Health care providers need to be aware of these benefits so they can appropriately recommend its use. The most important thing to remember is that, while there are medications meant for human use that are safe for use by dogs, many are toxic. Pet owners and healthcare providers alike need to be aware of the medications that can be toxic and avoid their use. Educate your patients’ owners about the dangers of xylitol and help train them to watch for any food, medications, or supplements that may contain the sweetener.
Check your labels and keep food out of reach of dogs. Make sure that everything your dog eats is xylitol free. If you have xylitol containing products in your home, make sure they are placed out of reach so your dog can’t get into them.
Xylitol has a place in human medicine, but can cause life threatening hypoglycemia, increased risk of bleeding, and liver failure in dogs. Be aware of the products that contain xylitol as well as the effects it can have in humans and dogs. EPC guarantees that all of our compounds for animals are xylitol free! Contact us for more information on canine-friendly compounding.
– Bryce Walker, Veterinary Compounding Pharmacy Student under the direction of Drew Olson, DVM, Veterinary Division – National Director