Xylitol May Be Causing Surge in Accidental Poisonings

Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in chewing gum and other “gummy” items, may be the cause behind many accidental poisonings of people’s dogs.

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Xylitol is an artificial sugar substitute that can be found in many types of chewing gum and other “gummy” items (vitamins, candy, etc.) intended for consumption by humans.  Unfortunately, it seems to be what is responsible for many accidental poisonings in dogs recently.

Xylitol is very, very dangerous to dogs.  It’s thought to be 100 times as harmful to dogs as milk chocolate according to experts.  This is information that would have been helpful to know for Tonia Cox.

Cox came home from work one day to find that the family dog Murphy Jo, had knocked her son’s Ice Breakers brand gum off of the counter, spilling the individual pieces across the floor.  The dog then ingested about 20 pieces of the gum, and almost died of liver failure.

“They told me to bring my kids in to say goodbye to her,” said Cox.  “We all held her and cried.”

Luckily, Murphy Jo pulled through.  Three blood-plasma transfusions were needed to save her life, but she did survive.  Now, Cox is taking the time to inform people about a poison that many may have in their home right now.  Maybe, by educating people on the dangers, there will be less incidents involving dogs and xylitol poisonings.

“We’ve seen a dramatic increase” in xylitol calls, said Dr. Ahna Brutlag.  Dr. Brutlag is the senior veterinary toxicologist at the Pet Poison Helpline.  In 2015 alone, they have fielded some 2,800 calls about the stuff potentially poisoning dogs.

“There are still a lot of dog owners who have never heard of xylitol, nor do they understand that something this benign, an ordinary sweetener, could be toxic to pets,” said Dr. Brutlag.


16 thoughts on “Xylitol May Be Causing Surge in Accidental Poisonings

  1. My dog had to be rushed to the er after eating a few pieces of Orbitz gum, which contains xylitol. We got there just in time, his liver started shutting down, the vet said a minute later he would have gone into organ failure. Please please please watch your purses or coat pockets, anywhere your dog can stick his nose into, or better yet don’t buy these products.

  2. Leah , so happy your dog survived. He’s very fortunate to have you in his life !
    Thanks for sharing your story , I’m going to share it to help spread the word.
    Makes no sense at all to permit such a poison to be sold
    – its plum crazy ridiculous , needs to be banned !

  3. Err… xylitol is not artificial, it’s a sugar alcohol extracted from birch or corn (tiny amounts are present in all sorts of veggies). It’s about the healthiest/safest sugar-substitute available, hence it’s growing popularity…. but yes, it’s extremely dangerous to dogs.

  4. We Finns eat xylitol gum a lot, it’s excellent for your teeth. However we also have known it for years that it is poisonous for dogs. As well is many other human eatables like dark chocolate and grapes.
    So instead of banning something that is good and healthy for humans we should feed our pets with their natural food.

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