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Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs… Symptoms, expectations, and costs!

Now chances are you probably haven’t ever heard of the word “xylitol” before your vet told you that your pet had an issue with it, unless of course your super health conscious or perhaps a nutritionist.

Which is why…

We wanted to take a moment and discuss exactly what xylitol is and how it can be very dangerous for your dog.  Because like other common household items such as chocolate, how our bodies and metabolisms handle certain foods and substances is WAY different from how your dogs body is able to process them.

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Let’s begin our conversation with first tackling the question…

“What is Xylitol?”

Xylitol, is a naturally occurring sugar that can be found in some fruits and vegetable and is used commonly used as a sugar substitute in many food items particularly in sugar-free gum.

The problem is…

It’s pretty bad for dogs. If your dog has gotten ahold of some, he may have xylitol poisoning.  Here’s what to expect of xylitol poisoning in dogs.

Clinical Signs & Symptoms of Xylitol Poisoning

Sometimes our dogs get into stuff and we don’t even know it. If your dog is displaying any of the following symptoms he could have eaten xylitol behind your back:

  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Depression
  • Lack of coordination

As you can see…

These are pretty general symptoms that could be caused by any number of disorders, diseases or illnesses. They aren’t really indicative of xylitol poisoning in particular (they could be signs of hypoglycemia caused by something else). But, you do definitely need to take your dog to the vet with symptoms like these!

You see…

It’s important to realize that xylitol poisoning in dogs doesn’t have to be life-threatening or cause long term damage, but that’s only if you get it treated by the veterinarian right away!

Which then begs the question…

“How much before a dog experiences xylitol toxicity?”

If your dog gets ahold of one piece of sugar-free gum should you worry? Maybe, maybe not. It really depends on your dog’s body weight. On average, it would take 50mg of xylitol per pound of your dog’s weight to be dangerous. So, if he’s 10 pounds, then he needs 500mg. But how much is 500mg? That’s a good question. A 45-pound dog would need about 9 pieces of sugar free gum to get hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). More than that could be quite dangerous.

The problem is…

Do you really want to try and calculate your dog’s weight vs how much xylitol you believe he or she may have eaten?  Particularly when we know that xylitol toxicity does have the potential to be toxic in dogs?

This is why…

If you think that your dog has ingested xylitol you can call the pet poison helpline (1-800-213-6680), the animal control center or rush to the nearest open veterinary clinic ASAP!

There…

Your veterinarian does not have time to run tests to see if it truly is xylitol toxicity. If you have some evidence that your dog has eaten xylitol (or something else poisonous) he/she will begin treatment right away.

Xylitol Toxicity Treatment

The most common treatment for poisoning such as this is inducing vomiting. This causes the body to rid itself of any more poisonous substance that hasn’t yet been absorbed.

Other treatment will…

Commonly involve getting the blood glucose levels back to normal. If your dog has low potassium, then that will be treated too. Your vet will likely start blood work for monitoring at the same time as treatment. There will be post-treatment bloodwork as well.

Which brings us to…

Were we like to remind folks that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians or medical professionals.  All we are is a bunch of folks who just happen to be passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them.

This is why…

If you feel like your pet may have myasthenia gravis (or any other health issue for that matter) the first thing that you’re going to want to do is have him or her check out by a vet ASAP!

Because…

The truth is, an early diagnosis will often lead to the “best” medical outcome for your pet regardless of what is bothering him or her, but beyond that diagnosing a medical condition early could save you a bundle in medical costs!

Cost

The cost of this isn’t as expensive as say, cancer, but it is a lot considering it’s just because your dog swallowed a pack of gum. If you leave a pack of sugar-free chewing gum out and your dog eats it, then it could turn into a $500 surprise expense…  Ouch!

This is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

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