What is Xylitol and why does my dog need to avoid it?

What is Xylitol and why does my dog need to avoid it?

Okay, before we get in to the nitty gritty, let’s first explain what Xylitol is.  

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener, that is used as a sugar alternative in food products, and occurs naturally in many fruits and vegetables. It is also commercially produced from birch bark and corn cob. When consuming it in human grade products it is known for being low calorie and for reducing blood sugar levels.



Now we know what Xylitol is, why is it harmful?

While in small quantities Xylitol is fine for human consumption, Xylitol for dogs is a very different story. 

In both us and dogs, the level of blood sugar is controlled by the release of insulin from the pancreas. In humans, Xylitol does not stimulate the release of insulin from the pancreas but when dogs eat something containing Xylitol, it is absorbed more quickly into the bloodstream which may result in a potent release of insulin from the pancreas. This fast release of insulin may result in a profound decrease in the level of blood sugar (hypoglycaemia), an effect that can occur within 10 - 60 minutes of consumption. Untreated, this can be life threatening.


So definitely best to be avoided! But what contains Xylitol?

Many scrumptious products may contain Xylitol, here is a list below of products to be wary of. Note, not all these products contain Xylitol, always make sure to check the label before consumption and try to avoid anything containing a sugar alternative or sweetener.


  • breath mints
  • baked goods
  • cough syrup
  • children’s and adult chewable vitamins
  • mouthwash
  • toothpaste
  • some peanut and nut butters
  • over-the-counter medicines
  • dietary supplements
  • sugar-free desserts, including "skinny" ice cream

Xylitol is, essentially, used primarily a sugar alternative so watch out for anything that is "low in sugar" or "sugar free". 


Hope this helped everyone! If you have any further questions please send us a message.

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