Xylitol is a popular sugar-free substitute most often found in sugarless gum, mints, toothpaste, mouthwashes, baked goods, certain cough medications, and specific supplements. While very safe for people, and every other species, Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs and can cause severe, very low blood sugar(hypoglycemia) and/or severe liver failure and even death.
If your dog ingests xylitol, call your veterinarian immediately or the Pet Poison Control Helpline (800-213-6680) or ASPCA (888-426-4435). Your vet may or may not have you induce vomiting, depending on the amount ingested and the time frame. Don’t induce vomiting without talking to your vet or poison control. In almost all cases, the dog should be evaluated at the hospital and have blood samples collected.
Getting treated immediately is essential for your pet if a large amount of xylitol has been ingested. Blood work will be taken to check sugar and liver function and, to help determine the best course of treatment. Should your dog show symptoms of xylitol ingestion, hospitalization is usually required for blood sugar monitoring, liver protectants, IV fluids, and possible other tests. Frequent monitoring of blood work will be conducted to check blood sugar and liver levels.
Products in your household containing xylitol should always be stored out of your dog’s reach; use care in using sugarless products. Some sugarless products (eg. Sorbitol) are safe and harmless around dogs so keep track of the ingredients of any product you buy!