Chewing gum and other products containing the artificial sweetner xylitol can be toxic for your pet. Sugar-free gum is the most common item, but xylitol can also be found in jam, syrups, candy, chocolate, mints and many dental products such as toothpaste (why you should not use human toothpaste on your dog).
How Much Xylitol is Dangerous?
It doesn’t take much xylitol to cause toxicity in pets. A 10 lb dog can be poisoned with as little as a stick and a half of sugar free gum containing xylitol. A 70 lb dog would be poisoned with only 10 to 11 pieces of gum.
Clinical symptoms of toxicity can appear in as little as 30 minutes after ingestion. Xylitol can cause low blood sugar, vomiting, weakness, ataxia, depression, low potassium levels, liver dysfunction, seizures and coma.
What If My Pet Ingests Xylitol
Don’t wait. Take your pet to an emergency animal hospital immediately. At I-20 we have doctors on staff 24 hours so that we can treat immediately. Don’t wait to see if your pet is going to show signs of toxicity. Time is critical. We treat a surprising number of pets with xylitol toxicity (gum is apparently a favored item with pets!) with success, but time is crucial.
Knowing that xylitol is toxic to pets can help you prevent an accidental poisoning.
The following products contain xylitol (but this is not a complete list)
Orbit gum Trident gum Stride gum Ice Breakers gum Altoids Biotene Mouthwash Breath Rx ThereaBreath toothpaste & mouthwash Mint Asure FreshBreath capsules Smint “xylicare” Some canine dental products contain Xylitol- but with approved non toxic levels