There are some common ingredients that are extremely dangerous for dogs. To name an example, there is xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is fine for us for the most part but can kill our canine companions within a matter of hours. As a result, there are numerous stories of dogs eating something that they aren’t supposed to eat before dying of organ failure as well as other serious issues. Often-times, their human family members didn’t even realize that was a potential problem. That is because xylitol can be found in a much wider range of products than what most people would expect.
What Is Xylitol Anyway?
Xylitol is called an artificial sweetener. However, it is interesting to note that the substance can be found in nature. Specifically, xylitol exists in small quantities in cauliflower, plums, pumpkins, and strawberries. In any case, its use saw a huge boost because the sugar rationing implemented during World War Two generated a great deal of demand for sugar substitutes. Xylitol is now extracted from plant biomass on an industrial scale. Taste-wise, xylitol has about the same level of sweetness as sucrose. Furthermore, it is stable enough that it can be used for baking, though it isn’t 100 percent the same as sucrose in this regard. To name an example, xylitol isn’t capable of caramelizing. Moving on, it is safe for human consumption under normal circumstances. Even when people eat too much, the consequence is that xylitol can have laxative effects rather than something worse. Unfortunately, what is safe for humans isn’t necessarily safe for other animals and vice versa. Cats seem to be fine with the stuff in small quantities.
However, the same cannot be said for dogs, which shouldn’t consume even small quantities of xylitol. They absorb it at a much faster rate than we do. Something that can cause a dog’s pancreas to release enough insulin to send their blood sugar level plummeting within 10 to 60 minutes. Left untreated, that can kill. If people are concerned about their dogs getting poisoned by xylitol, they should memorize some of the potential symptoms. For starters, it is common to see dogs vomiting because they have consumed xylitol. Subsequently, they can start showing the signs of a sudden fall in their blood sugar level, which can include but are not limited to weakness, reduced activity, reduced coordination, seizures, and outright collapse. If people see these symptoms, they should seek out emergency veterinary assistance for their dogs. Similarly, if people know that their dogs have eaten something containing xylitol, they should seek out emergency veterinary assistance for their dogs even if they aren’t seeing any symptoms because those can sometimes take a bit longer to show up. When it comes to this, it is better to be safe than to be sorry.
Where Can Xylitol Be Found?
Unsurprisingly, xylitol can be found in a wide range of foods. For example, it can be found in baked goods. Similarly, it can be found in peanut butter as well as other nut-based butters. However, interested individuals should know that xylitol can also be found in a wide range of other products. Anytime that people see gum being marketed as sugar-free gum, they should be concerned because chances are good that it contains xylitol. The exact amount can see a fair amount of variation from gum to gum. As a result, consuming even one or two pieces of gum can be extremely dangerous for dogs if it is one of the ones with more xylitol in it. Similarly, xylitol sees a lot of use in toothpaste as well as other dental health products. In part, this is because it tastes sweet. However, there is also evidence that it reduces tooth decay as well as gum disease, thus making it a natural choice for these products. On top of these, xylitol can be found in certain medications as well, which can take the form of gummies, liquids, and more besides. In recent times, xylitol has also started seeing use in gels, lotions, and deodorants. Apparently, it can help these products retain moisture. As a result, interested individuals should also be careful with these products.
What Can You Do About This?
People can protect their dogs from xylitol by checking the labels on their products. This is particularly important when it comes to products that are marketed as being either “low sugar,” “sugar free,” or something along those lines because those are likeliest to have xylitol in them. Of course, even if something isn’t marketed that way, that is no guarantee that it is free of xylitol. As a result, interested individuals should always check the labels on their products even if those products aren’t food. If a product contains xylitol, people need to make sure that it is beyond the reach of their dog. One solution would be storing it in a high-up location that dogs can’t reach. Another solution would be storing it in a secure location that dogs can’t get into. People need to remember that dogs can be quite good at getting into places where they shouldn’t be, so they should never underestimate their canine companions. Otherwise, there can be serious consequences for the latter if they are unlucky enough to eat something that is poisonous for them.
Unfortunately, xylitol is far from being the only thing that can be eaten by humans but not by dogs. Due to this, people should always err on the side of caution when it comes to feeding their dogs anything new. Looking for information is easier than ever, so it is a good idea for them to look things up whenever they are in doubt. For that matter, people might want to consult their veterinarian whenever they are thinking about feeding their dogs anything new. After all, just because something can be eaten by most dogs out there, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it can be eaten by their particular dog. On top of that, veterinarians are also good sources of information for how much of these foods can be fed to their dog, which is important because one dog can be so very different from another dog.