As dog owners, most of us are probably already aware of the dangers that Xylitol poses to our dogs. The sugar substitute is most often found in chewing gum, but it can also be found in other items as well – some that you may not even be aware of. Xylitol can almost be guaranteed to be found in everything that is listed as “sugar-free” or “low calorie.” And the worrying part is it can even be in those items that are sold as being “natural.”
For those dog owners who are unaware of what problems xylitol can cause or why we should be careful not to let our dogs eat it, here is everything you need to know below:
1. It Causes Serious Damage
The most common way that xylitol poisoning presents itself in dogs is a sudden and dangerous drop in blood pressure. This is then followed by seizures, brain damage, or liver failure, and death if medical attention is not sought in time.
2. Small Amounts of Xylitol Are Enough to Cause Death
A small 500 mg bit of xylitol is enough to kill a small dog, and it can make an average-sized dog extremely sick. The average stick of gum contains about 300 mg, so the risk factor is very, very high.
3. Xylitol is Found in Many Consumer Products
It’s not just gum and mints that contain the harmful substance. Xylitol is also an ingredient in jams and jellies, salad dressing, toothpaste, cupcakes, sugar-free pudding, children’s medication, and many more household items. That is why it’s so important to read the labels before just leaving food items and other things lying around that your dog could accidentally get into.
4. Some Labels are Misleading
Just because it says “all-natural,” doesn’t mean that you don’t run the risk of having xylitol as a main ingredient. Technically, xylitol can count as “natural” because its source, xylan, is originally produced from a tree. That is why if you come across a label that says “all-natural” you need to double-check it since xylitol can still be used in the making of that particular product.
5. Xylitol Isn’t Always Produced from Trees
While it can be sourced from trees, xylitol is also sourced from corn. Food scientists figured out a way to source xylitol as a byproduct of ethanol production, which means that it’s much cheaper to manufacture and can appear in more products.
6. Dietary Trend in the US Have Led to a Rise of Xylitol
With more people wanting lower calories or sugar-free alternatives that are also “natural,” there has been an increase in the use of xylitol for sweetening products. This means that as a dog owner, you need to be extra cautious because xylitol is becoming more and more common in food products.
Did you know about the dangers of xylitol or its frequent appearance in food products? Does this knowledge affect how you monitor food around your dogs? Let us know!