Seeing that us mamas are gearing up for Halloween (I know I'm excited to sneak some of my son's candy!), it also means it's time to be a bit extra cautious when it comes to our four-legged friends and the kitchen. Specifically, an ingredient that's recently being added to processed foods such as nut butters.
Our friends over at SimpleWag.com recently enlightened us on a new nut butter ingredient that is filling supermarket shelves (and is potentially SO harmful to your pup!!) That potentially-hazardous ingredient (to doggies, NOT humans), is Xylitol.
"Xylitol is a sugar alcohol commonly used in candy and chewing gum (and some other products, such as peanut butter.) It is also found in some pharmaceuticals and oral health products such as chewable vitamins and throat lozenges. While Xylitol is safe for humans, xylitol and dogs do not mix. The compound doesn’t affect glucose levels in people, but when ingested by dogs it can cause a dangerous surge of insulin; In as little as 15 minutes, the blood sugar of a dog that has eaten gum containing Xylitol may register a marked drop in blood sugar. At higher doses, Xylitol is believed toxic to the canine liver" (Simple Wag, 2017).
Simple Wag overviews the following stats + symptoms of Xylitol + dogs:
Xylitol and Dogs: Statistics
In the past 5 years, Pet Poison Helpline, an animal poison control based out of Minneapolis, MN, has had over 1500 calls for xylitol poisoning, due to the growing awareness of this common kitchen toxin. In both humans and dogs, the level of blood sugar is controlled by the release of insulin from the pancreas. Xylitol does not stimulate the release of insulin from the pancreas in humans, however, when non-primate species (e.g., a dog) eat something containing xylitol, the xylitol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, resulting in a potent release of insulin from the pancreas. This rapid release of insulin results in a rapid and profound decrease in the level of blood sugar (hypoglycemia), an effect that occurs within 10-60 minutes of eating the xylitol. Untreated, this hypoglycemia can be life-threatening.It can also be used in home baking.
Just three grams of Xylitol can kill a 65-pound dog. Because the amount of sweetener used in sugar-free chewing gums varies by manufacturer and product, the number of sticks of gum that would prove fatal to a pooch of that size can’t be stated with precision. As a general rule of thumb, between eight and ten pieces of gum might be deadly to a 65-pound canine, but a smaller dog could easily die after ingesting far less (perhaps as few as two sticks of gum).
If you suspect that your pet has eaten a xylitol-containing product, please contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680) immediately. Do not induce vomiting or give anything orally to your dog unless specifically directed to do so by your veterinarian. It is important to get treatment for your dog as quickly as possible. As some dogs may already be hypoglycemic, inducing vomiting can make them worse!
Photo by Tanner Vines via Unsplash
Xylitol & Dogs: Symptoms
Symptoms of xylitol toxicity develop rapidly, usually within 15-30 minutes of consumption. Signs of hypoglycemia may include any or all of the following:
- Incoordination or difficulty walking or standing (walking like drunk)
- Depression or lethargy