We know what’s bad for dogs: chocolate, avocado, alcohol of any kind, caffeine, grapes and raisins and macadamia nuts. But did you know chewing gum can be deadly? If it’s sugar free, it is probably made with xylitol. And this sugar substitute can trigger a chain of more serious illnesses.
How xylitol works
This naturally-occurring sugar alcohol causes more insulin to surge through your dog’s body. That in turn causes blood sugar to drop dangerously low, and can also cause liver failure. Initial symptoms include vomiting, lethargy, and loss of coordination. Eventually, your dog may have seizures. Liver failure can occur within just a few days and then that’s the end.
Xylitol poisoning is on the rise!
Today more and more products are made with xylitol – besides most gum and many hard candies, it’s used to cut sugar out in many baked goods, puddings, gelatin desserts, yogurts and sugar-reduced ice creams…. as well as pharmaceuticals like vitamins, cough syrup, toothpaste and mouthwash.
The website PreventiveVet.com has an excellent listing of all products including brand names, with xylitol. Check it out and see what might be around your household.
If you think your Morkie has ingested xylitol
Get your Morkie to the Vet or contact a poison control centre right away – even if he hasn’t developed any symptoms! Fast and aggressive treatment is absolutely vital to try and reverse the toxic effects of xylitol. (Take the package of the xylitol food with you.)
Mercola’s HealthyPets.com site warns:
Just a small amount of xylitol can cause a dangerous insulin surge and a rapid drop in blood sugar.
Your Veterinarian may induce vomiting to prevent further absorption, depending on what your dog’s blood glucose level is. The vet will probably also do extensive blood work.
Out of sight, out of mind
Your best defence – know what products in your home, purse or car contain xylitol… and keep them well out of reach of your Morkie.
Keep healthy treats around instead and your Morkie will be fine.