Xylitol is found in many things we eat every day but did you know it can be harmful to your dog? Xylitol tastes like table sugar and was discovered by tapping birch trees in the 19th Century. It is used in sugar free gum and breath mints and advertised as a safe sweetener for diabetics.
In dogs, xylitol causes a sudden and steep decline in blood sugar. Signs of xylitol toxicity in dogs include vomiting, diarrhea and in extreme cases, seizures.
Ashley Hoskins is a mother who found this out and saved her dog with quick action. She realized her dog, Hank, a shorthaired pointer, had swiped a pack of gum from her daughter. She immediately called Willow Creek Pet Center and got the dog right in where Dr Jillian George jumped into action. The veterinarian got an injection going to induce vomiting, then got Hank on a catheter to pump fluids through him over night. George calls this dog decontamination.
Dr George said “That’s the important thing with xylitol toxicity, like any toxic, its dose dependent. The potential for harm depends on the size of the dog and the amount of toxin ingested. Within 30-60 minutes, it can be fatal. I didn’t wait for the symptoms to show.”
Lucky for the Hoskins family, their quick action helped save Hank’s life and they are taking a break from gum for a while.