Xylitol is deadly to dogs

Xylitol is a sugar substitute found in many foods. It is deadly to dogs.

Always check labels, and keep items containing xylitol out of your dog’s reach.

If you’ve ever owned a puppy you’ll know that anything that isn’t kept out of his reach will be chewed or eaten. Puppies love to exercise their teeth; chewing is also a big game to them and keeps busy bodies and minds active.

What is xylitol and why is it dangerous?

Xylitol is a class of sweetener known as sugar alcohol. It is present in many products and foods for human use, including breath mints, cough syrup, toothpaste, sugar-free desserts and breath mints. In both people and dogs, the body’s blood sugar level is controlled by the release of insulin from the pancreas. In people, xylitol doesn’t stimulate the release of insulin by the pancreas but when dogs eat it, it is absorbed more quickly into the bloodstream and may result in a potent release of insulin by the pancreas.

This may result in a rapid and profound decrease in the level of blood sugar (hypoglycaemia), an effect that can occur within just 10 minutes to an hour of eating the xylitol. Untreated this can become life-threatening.

Where will I find it?

There are hundreds of products containing xylitol, so the best you can do for your dog is check labels very carefully and keep anything containing this sweetener out of harm’s way.

You’ll find xylitol in:

Sugar-free sweets and chocolate


Desserts and cakes

Peanut and nut butters

Chewable vitamins

Toothpaste, breath mints and mouth wash

Cough syrup


Chewing gum

Symptoms of poisoning

If you notice any of the following in your dog, get him to the vet immediately.

  • vomiting
  • lethargy
  • weakness
  • staggering
  • lack of co-ordination
  • collapse
  • seizures

Symptoms may not show up for 12 hours or more so if you know your dog has eaten xylitol it is essential that you get him to your vet before they do.