Protect Your Pooch!

Mar 10, 2010, by Dr. Becky Coats

Xylitol has been embraced by dentists in United States in the last few years because of its noncariogenic properties and it’s potential role in preventing dental decay. Most of us are unaware of the chemical, but it can be found in sugar-free gum, mouthwashes, toothpastes and candies as a sweetener. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that possesses a sweetness similar to sugar with approximately 40 percent fewer calories.

While the dental community embraces this ingredient for its decay prevention and oral health benefits, many dental professionals are unaware of xylitol’s toxic potential-not to humans, but to dogs. Xylitol has little effect on insulin production in humans, however, dogs can experience a rapid and sever increase in insulin production after ingesting as little as 0.15g/kg of xylitol. Effects of this can produce vomiting, lethargy, seizures and even collapse. A dog that ingests approximately 3-4 pieces of gum is at risk of liver failure or liver damage. Dogs may show signs of lethargy and vomiting for nine to 72 hours after ingestion. These symptoms may be followed by coagulopathy- a condition, believed to be a result of liver failure, that affects the blood’s ability to coagulate-which, in turn, can result in other life-threatening issues.

Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) has reported an incresase in xylitol-related incidents-which is not surprising, considering the increasing availibility of products containing xylitol in the United States.

Other people good that made the Top 10 Pet Poisons of 2008 are chocolate, grapes, raisins, avacado, onion and citrus fruits.

ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) or 888-426-4435

(Below are exerpts from article ‘The Sour Side of a Sweetener’ by Lorraine Brockmann, RDG, MS and Susan A. Brundrett, DVM in the February 2010 issue of AGD Impact)