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As we learn more about sugar alternatives for human consumption and attempt a better and healthier life style for ourselves, we may be imposing some unknown risks to our furry friends.

One of these days we were discussing healthy baking options for our Friday treats at the clinic (thanks to our amazing RVT Ronda!) and we came across a very interesting topic: did you know that xylitol – a sugar substitute – is extremely toxic to dogs?

Here is how: Insulin controls our blood sugar. In people, xylitol does not stimulate the release of insulin, but in dogs it does. So, when dogs eat anything that contains xylitol, it stimulates a potent release of insulin that may result in a rapid and profound decrease in blood sugar. This can happen as soon as 10 minutes after xylitol ingestion, and if left untreated, the hypoglycemia can be life-threatening. The most common symptoms of xylitol poisoning in dogs include vomiting, decreased activity, weakness, incoordination, collapse and seizures.

Xylitol can be found in a variety of products such as gums, mouth wash and toothpaste, baked goods, sugar-free peanut butter, medications, and body products. Important hint: xylitol can be “hidden” as sugar alcohol, so please read the product labels very carefully!

I hope this helps you keep your healthy habits without any risks to your furry friends!

If your dog eats something and you’re unsure of its toxicity, please give us a call and we’ll be more than happy to help!

Stay healthy everyone!


-by Dr. Alysson Macedo

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