What could be more toxic than chocolate?
Actually, I didn’t know the answer until I did the research. The startling fact that thousands of products contain this substance stymied me. There are no warning labels for pet owners. Because these products are made for people, hundreds of dogs and cats suffer when adults or children leave these foods and products where pets can ingest them.
This substance naturally develops in grapes and onions. Is also an ingredient often added to gum, candy, mouthwash, toothpaste, and ear medications for children, plus it is added to many prepared foods.
Gum, candy, peanut butter all harmless, right?
WRONG! What is okay for people to eat, proves toxic for pets. Chocolate and nuts are two examples of what people can eat, yet can be lethal for pets. Xylitol damages dogs’ livers. In both people and canines liver failure often means the end of life.
A Tiny Bit Could Kill Your Dog…
In an article in The Wall Street Journal, Mark Maremont reported that, “Besides gum, xylitol is used by manufacturers in products including mints, gummy vitamins, toothpaste, specialty peanut butter and melatonin sleep aids—in part because it has about two-thirds the calories of sugar and is safer than sugar for diabetics. Some gum makers cite studies showing dental-health benefits.”
“A type of sugar alcohol extracted from plants, xylitol is well-tolerated by humans, but in dogs causes a sudden release of insulin, resulting in low blood sugar and potentially leading to seizures and brain damage. It also can cause liver failure.” Xylitol has been added to literally thousands of products. It is safe in these many products for people, but it kills dogs and cats.”
Toxin Levels for Pets in Xylitol Products
Hershey’s Ice Breakers contain 10 times the pet toxic Xylitol level per piece
“Xylitol makes up more than half the weight in certain Ice Breakers flavors, about 1.2 grams of xylitol per piece, according to Hershey’s consumer helpline. That’s about 8 to 10 times the amount of xylitol in some other popular gums. A pack of the brand, introduced in 2006, contains 40 pieces.”
Hard candies, breath mints, toothpaste, tooth whiteners, mouthwash, some jams and jellies all contain xylitol. The U.S.A. Federal Drug Administration does not require warning labels on any of these sweet treats.
As reported in the Wall Street Journal article, “A toxic dose of xylitol—enough to potentially cause low blood sugar or other symptoms—is 0.1 grams per kilogram of the dog’s weight.”
- one piece of Xylitol could be toxic for a 26-pound dog
- one piece is 12 times as toxic as a piece of dark chocolate the same weight
- 100 times as harmful to dogs as milk chocolate
“Xylitol is extracted from plant material and is available as an ingredient (additiive) in more and more foods, but the amount naturally occurring in foods is very small. In addition to gum, xylitol can now be found in some hard candies, chocolate, table syrup, jams, and jellies.” WebMD.com/ supplements/xylitol
What other health risks does xylitol pose for pets?
“…some animal studies have shown tumor growth resulting from high doses of xylitol over long periods.…” – WebMD Warning for Dog Owners
“If you are a dog owner, be aware that xylitol can be toxic to dogs, even in small amounts”
- chewable vitamins
- Nicorette Gum
- Peanut Butter (some brands)
- tooth paste
- Xlear Nasal Spray
Note: This list is far from complete.
Please read the labels on anything you put on pet level in your car and home. Dogs love sweets.
Keep these foods containing xylitol away from pets:
- onion like shallots, green onions, etc.
- peanut butter
- anything baked with xylitol
Xylitol Poisoning Affects Canine and Feline Livers
Xylitol may kill pets that ingest it. If you suspect your dog of eating any items made with this toxin, immediately rush you pet to a veterinarian.
Symptoms of Poisoning
- loss of balance
- difficulty breathing
- difficulty walking
- refusal to drink
- refusal to eat
Please help dog lovers and cat lovers by sharing.
Here’s hoping all dog lovers will receive benefit from my second guest post on 4Knines’ blog. Ready to save pets’ lives? Please share this with dog and cat lovers everywhere. Spread the word about this naturally substance, artificially introduced to our homes in dozens of products. Please share and discuss the threat to pets’ health and lives from ingesting even a small amount of xylitol.
Have you had a pet that ingested xylitol? Add to our discussion in the comment section.
Deborah Taylor-French blogs at DogLeaderMysteries.com. “…an interesting site for anyone who likes dogs.” Commented Kristina Stanley, an award-winning mystery writer. Deborah goes nose to nose for a dog-to-dog point of view. Her dog parenting tips, pet humor and stories are liked by thousands of readers.
Dog Leader Mysteries I, Deborah’s first novel, is schedule for publication in 2016. In both nonfiction and fiction, Deborah’s writing demonstrates positive dog leadership and kindness toward all animals.
As Author Support Facilitator for Redwood Writers, the largest branch of the California Writers Club, Deborah helps other writers. Find her true story of Sydney’s adoption from an animal shelter in, “Punk Rocker With A Poodle Brain” published in Vintage Voices Four Part Harmony. She has raised five adopted dogs.