What Sweetener Is Harmful To Dogs

Pet owners are now well aware that chocolate is harmful to animals. There is growing awareness of the risks associated with giving pets access to xylitol, a sugar alternative, and for good cause. The substance xylitol, which is frequently present in sugar-free candies, baked goods, gum, and other products, can cause dogs’ blood sugar levels to drop dangerously low and cause renal failure.

Despite the fact that sugar is included in almost all foods, the popularity of low-carb and ketogenic diets has encouraged many people to look for sugar substitutes. The market for sugar alcohols like erythritol and plant-based sweeteners like stevia has risen, and these products are now widely available.

What synthetic sweeteners are poisonous to dogs?

Naturally occurring xylitol is frequently collected from birch or corncobs and utilized as a sweetener in industrial items including toothpaste, gum, candy, and baked goods. Dogs can be poisoned by the sugar substitute xylitol, despite it being well tolerated in humans.

Canines quickly absorb xylitol after swallowing it. Vomiting can be observed in as little as 30 minutes, but complete symptoms can take up to 12 hours to manifest. Xylitol promotes the release of insulin in dogs, which can result in dangerously low blood sugar levels that cause drowsiness and loss of coordination. Dogs may eventually experience seizures or pass out if untreated. Xylitol has also been connected to liver failure in dogs after massive ingestions.

Xylitol is slowly absorbed in humans and doesn’t significantly raise insulin levels. It has less calories than sugar and the added advantage of reducing cavities and mouth germs. But when used in excessive doses, xylitol might have moderate side effects like diarrhea or flatulence.

What sweeteners have xylitol in them?

A sugar substitute called xylitol is utilized in chewing gum, baked pastries, and numerous other commodities intended for human consumption. Due to its low glycemic index and low calorie content, it is frequently consumed by patients with diabetes.

For dogs, xylitol can be extremely poisonous, leading to low blood sugar and liver failure. The xylitol-stimulated insulin release that results in hypoglycemia. This impact can be delayed, although it typically lasts 12 to 24 hours. Although the mechanism of the idiosyncratic liver failure is unclear, it is believed to be caused by the generation of reactive oxygen species and subsequent liver damage. Cat xylitol toxicity has not been proven.

Due to the numerous novel sources of xylitol, the most frequent cause of xylitol poisoning in dogs has historically been sugar-free chewing gum. Patients who have consumed gum with an extra candy coating, which raises the xylitol concentration to deadly levels, are still being seen by our emergency room doctors.

Because of its many benefits, xylitol has become quite well-liked among people. Since xylitol has fewer calories and is almost as sweet as sugar, it is often added to flavored, sugar-free, or low-calorie products. Many skin and hair care products utilize xylitol because it possesses humectant characteristics, which allow it to help retain moisture. Additionally, it possesses antibacterial qualities that can reduce dental plaque and skin issues, boosting its use in a variety of skin care and dental products. These characteristics have sparked the creation of a variety of goods that contain xylitol, such as ice cream, breath mints, chewing gum, cough drops, gummy vitamins, dental care items, shampoos, moisturizers, deodorants, and much more.

Researchers are looking at xylitol’s potential benefits for anti-aging, its involvement in wound healing, and its potential as an antibacterial. It may also promote the production of skin collagen.

What occurs if a dog eats sugar?

A common sugar alternative is a naturally occurring molecule called xylitol. It is a sugar alcohol chemically and naturally occurs in several fruits and vegetables, including berries, plums, corn, oats, mushrooms, lettuce, and trees.

The majority of xylitol used commercially is taken from birch trees or maize fiber. Although it has been used as a sugar alternative for many years, due to its low glycemic index and dental plaque-fighting abilities, its popularity has significantly expanded in the last ten years.

Where is xylitol found?

Xylitol is produced as a white powder that resembles sugar in both appearance and flavor. It has received approval for usage in several nations’ medications, food additives, and oral care items. The quantity and variety of goods containing xylitol have significantly expanded in recent years. Examples of items include toothpaste, mouthwash, sugar-free gum, sweets, breath mints, baked goods, peanut butter, pudding snacks, cough syrup, chewable or gummy vitamins, and over-the-counter medicines. Additionally, xylitol is becoming more prevalent in over-the-counter nasal sprays, skin care items, laxatives, digestive aids, allergy meds, dry mouth lozenges, and sleep aids for people. This is especially true of prescription drugs designed as rapid dissolve tablets or liquids.

Why is xylitol increasing in popularity and use?

While sucrose is sweeter than xylitol, it only has around two-thirds as many calories. As a sugar alternative, it ranks lower on the glycemic index than glucose, a measure that rates foods high in carbohydrates according to how much they boost blood sugar levels. Because it has a reduced glycemic index, xylitol is advantageous for diabetics and people following low-carbohydrate diets.

Research has revealed that xylitol promotes saliva production, inhibits dental caries, and aids in the prevention of plaque buildup when it comes to oral health.

How safe is xylitol?

Although most sugar alcohols have a minor laxative effect when consumed in high quantities or when initially introduced to a diet, xylitol is safe for usage in humans. This happens as a result of xylitol’s ability to draw water into the intestines or its ability to be fermented by bacterial species found there.

Dogs are highly poisonous to xylitol. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure, and even death in dogs can be brought on by even trace levels of xylitol.

Why is xylitol toxic to dogs?

The amount of blood sugar is regulated in both humans and dogs by the pancreas’ secretion of insulin. In people, xylitol does not cause the pancreas to release more insulin. However, xylitol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream when consumed by dogs, which causes a powerful release of insulin from the pancreas. This quick insulin release results in a severe drop in blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which can happen as soon as 10 to 60 minutes after eating. Hypoglycemia can be fatal if left untreated. Uncertainty surrounds the mechanism by which xylitol can result in liver failure in dogs.

How much xylitol is poisonous to a dog?

Because different goods contain different levels of xylitol, different amounts of a product must be consumed before toxicity is anticipated. In general, xylitol causes hypoglycemia at lower dosages but liver failure at greater ones. The amount of xylitol in gum varies from brand to brand and even from flavor to flavor within a same brand. While other kinds of gum have higher concentrations, some varieties have lower quantities of xylitol. It’s critical to determine whether a dangerous amount of xylitol has been consumed because different brands and flavors of gum have a wide variety of xylitol. Although incidents of xylitol poisoning from other sources, like as supplements and baked goods, are on the rise, the most frequent source of xylitol poisoning that Pet Poison Helpline* receives calls about is sugar-free gum. Dogs consuming xylitol were the subject of 5,846 calls to Pet Poison Helpline in 2020.

What should I do if my dog eats something containing xylitol?

Unless specifically instructed to do so by your veterinarian, avoid making your dog puke or giving him anything by mouth. Your dog needs to receive treatment as soon as possible. The clinical indications of some dogs’ hypoglycemia may get worse if vomiting is induced.

What are the signs of xylitol poisoning?

Initial symptoms of xylitol poisoning might appear within an hour of intake and are often brought on by hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Any or all of the following could be indications of low blood sugar:

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Inability to balance properly or having trouble standing or walking
  • Lethargy, sluggishness, or weakness
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma

In severe circumstances, the dog could experience liver failure or seizures. Dogs who get liver failure due to xylitol overdose may or may not first exhibit hypoglycemic symptoms.

How is xylitol poisoning diagnosed?

If there are symptoms of hypoglycemia or liver failure and you know or believe that the dog consumed something containing xylitol, you may make a presumptive diagnosis of xylitol poisoning. Your veterinarian won’t typically wait for a definite diagnosis regarding the precise amount consumed before starting therapy because clinical indications usually appear quickly.

Is there an antidote for xylitol poisoning?

No. There is no known cure for xylitol poisoning, however intravenous dextrose (glucose) supplementation and liver-protecting medications are helpful treatments.

How is xylitol poisoning treated?

Your veterinarian must act quickly and forcefully in order to effectively reverse any toxic effects and stop the emergence of serious issues.

Depending on your dog’s blood glucose level and whether or not they have shown any clinical symptoms after recently consuming xylitol, your veterinarian may induce vomiting to stop further absorption. If clinical indications have emerged, the course of treatment will depend on what signs are manifesting. Your veterinarian will run blood tests to see whether xylitol is the cause of low blood potassium and blood glucose levels, and whether these issues require treatment. Your dog will always require hospitalization for monitoring blood sugar levels, giving dextrose, giving intravenous fluids, giving liver protectants, and receiving any further supportive care that may be required. To ensure that liver function and blood glucose levels stay normal, blood work should be examined often.

What is the prognosis for recovery from xylitol poisoning?

The outlook is favorable for dogs who receive treatment before showing clinical symptoms or for those who experience mild hypoglycemia that is promptly corrected. The prognosis is typically uncertain if liver failure occurs, and patients may require extensive care.

How can I prevent this problem?

If you use xylitol-containing products, be sure to store them securely and out of your dogs’ reach. Don’t give your pets any food that might contain xylitol. Use only dog toothpaste when brushing your dog’s teeth; never use human toothpaste. It should be noted that some veterinary products include trace levels of xylitol (e.g., gabapentin medication, mouthwashes). These shouldn’t cause xylitol poisoning when taken at the recommended doses, but they might if excessive amounts are consumed.

“If you use xylitol-containing products, ensure sure they are stored securely and out of your dogs’ reach.”

Dogs appear to be the species most vulnerable to xylitol toxicity. The consumption of xylitol does not appear to cause hypoglycemia or liver failure in cats, rabbits, ferrets, or horses. It is nevertheless preferable to keep these other species away from xylitol-containing items even though they don’t seem to be xylitol sensitive.

As it is less harmful to your dog and more affordable, rapid decontamination and treatment are always required in cases of poisoning. It is crucial to diagnose and treat patients quickly.

Are dogs poisonous to Splenda?

This month, Splenda packets are allegedly being intentionally left in Kew Gardens, according to reports, in an effort to hurt dogs exercising in Forest Park.

A March 9 post on the Forest Park Barking Lot’s Facebook page said that there have been numerous reports of a mysterious person throwing packages into the area.

The message states, “I am requesting the dog park community to unite and assist in identifying the culprits.

Splenda is extremely toxic and lethal to dogs, and it can both make them ill and kill them.

However, the allegations of witnessing a suspicious person throw packs of splenda were downplayed in a Facebook post on March 20.

“According to Gabriela Bobadilla, a resident of Kew Gardens and one of the dog run’s founders, the notion that someone threw Splenda packets into the enclosure is only a rumor. “It might be because people stroll through the run in the mornings and leave their coffee packets behind.

Dog owners, however, have claimed that this would not be the first attempt to harm their pets at The Overlook, a 9,000-square-foot area close to the Parks Department administration office.

“According to Kew Gardens homeowner and frequent user of the dog run Esta-Joy Sydell, one dog was poisoned with rat poison several months ago.

According to comments made by other dog owners on the Facebook page, the area has shown a lot of resentment against the expanding dog community.

Some claim that people walking their dogs have received outright threats from dog-haters, and that people have been seen spraying unidentified substances in the park.

Splenda could potentially produce signs of diarrhea and digestive discomfort in dogs, but doctors say it is unlikely to harm them severely.

A comparable artificial sweetener that is frequently found in toothpaste, mints, baked products, and chewing gum is far more toxic even though Splenda does somewhat affect dogs.

The other sweetener, according to the ASPCA, enters a dog’s system fast and releases a significant amount of insulin, which can result in liver failure. Vomiting and drowsiness are the early symptoms of toxicosis, which can progress to seizures and finally cause liver failure.

“The March 20 Facebook post states, “If anyone does have firsthand knowledge please let us know… and we will investigate.”

Dog owners have requested that visitors to the park tidy up and discard any trash that is lying about.

Are dogs poisonous to stevia?

How risky is Xylitol for my dog, according to what I’ve read, but what about other artificial sweeteners? Do they pose a threat? Which ways? Nice N. R.

Hello, SNR Yes, dogs should not consume any Xylitol at all. Not only is it risky, but it has also been shown to be lethal. Before I answer, let me say that it is healthier for dogs to eat a diet devoid of sweets, especially artificial sweeteners. Of course, family pets are exposed to a broad variety of foods, so accidents can still happen.

You can determine what is risky and safe by using the list of popular artificial sweeteners that is provided below. Always remember to READ THE LABELS on the food you have in your house. Dangerous chemicals like Xylitol are frequently discovered in unexpected products.


Numerous “sugar-free” products, including ice cream, candy, pastries, gum, yogurts, juices, and more, contain this naturally occurring sweetener. If ingested, xylitol is HIGHLY TOXIC and may be fatal. It can result in mortality, liver failure, and convulsions even at low dosages.

Monk fruit

A more recent sweetener to hit the market is monk fruit. It is comparable to Stevia and is usually okay for dogs to eat.

Being a seasoned vet, I’d be negligent if I didn’t advise you that dogs shouldn’t consume any sweets, artificial or otherwise, and that harmful sweeteners like Xylitol are included in many everyday food and non-food products including mouthwash, chewing gum, and toothpaste. Always be extra cautious about giving your dog new things, and have a backup plan ready in case of an emergency.

The non-profit AKC, which was established in 1884, is the acknowledged authority on dog breeds, health, and training. The AKC is committed to improving dog sports and actively promotes responsible dog ownership.