Xylitol Poisoning in Cats and Dogs

Xylitol Poisoning in Cats and Dogs

Xylitol is a sugar substitute commonly found in gum, candy, and baking goods. It’s touted for humans because of lower caloric amounts and dental benefits. However, xylitol is quite toxic to dogs and cats. Learn more from your Richmond Hill veterinarian below.

What are the Symptoms of Xylitol Poisoning?

Your dog’s pancreas confuses xylitol with real sugar and releases insulin. As a result, your dog’s blood sugar level drops dramatically. Weakness, disorientation, spasms, vomiting, diarrhea, and even seizures can result. Symptoms usually will begin within 30 minutes of ingestion, and can last for varying times depending on the size of your dog and the amount of xylitol product ingested.

How Much Xylitol Does it Take to Poison My Pet?

It doesn’t take a lot for a dog or cat to become poisoned by xylitol. A small dog, 10 pounds or less, can be poisoned by as little as a stick and half of gum containing xylitol. If your pet decides to chow down on an entire pack of xylitol-sweetened gum or candy, the results could be extremely serious or even fatal. You need to take your pet to the local veterinary hospital immediately.

It’s worth mentioning that cases of xylitol poisoning are far more common in dogs, but xylitol is toxic to cats as well. Most likely, cats simply tend to avoid gum and candy more than dogs. In either case, it’s wise to store all xylitol products where pets can’t get to them.

What’s the Treatment?

Your veterinarian may induce vomiting to rid the pet’s body of the toxin. Fluid therapy and a sugar IV may be prescribed. Your pet will probably need to be monitored for a few days, and a follow-up appointment may be necessary. Ask your Richmond Hill veterinarian more about the recovery time and procedure. At home, be sure to keep all candies and gums in a closed or locked cabinet. Put them in sealed containers so your pet can’t chew or tear them open.

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