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Attack of the Labgrown Food: Xylitol Epidemic

Updated: Dec 29, 2023

Sometimes in life, we take things for granted. We venture out into the world each day, with very little actual concern for the dangers all around us. Being human is great because we can understand and avoid hidden dangers. Our pets have that ability, but not always the self-control to exhibit it. Thus, we end up protecting our pets from themselves, and in many cases, they really need us to.

What if many of us were unaware of what we needed to protect them from? It would make it kind of tough right? There is a scary situation happening all over the country with a sugar substitute called Xylitol.

What the heck is Xylitol you ask? Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that has five carbon atoms as opposed to other sweeteners which have six. Dentists love this because it doesn't cause tooth decay. It affects the conversion process. Xylitol is found naturally in berries, vegetables, corn cobs, and mushrooms in small amounts. Many nutritionists believe this substance is safe for human consumption in small amounts.

So what’s the big deal with a dog accidentally consuming some? Xylitol is extremely poisonous to dogs, and can even be fatal. Research shows that dogs can experience extreme hypoglycemia and eventually liver failure. The prognosis can be good if you catch the problem soon enough, and get your dog the proper care. However, once liver enzymes become too elevated, the prognosis drops dramatically. This is a VERY serious concern in today’s world. So what should you look out for?

The number of products with Xylitol keeps increasing, and it doesn't seem to be stopping. Consumers want low-calorie and healthy products, so manufacturers are using more substitutes. The most common types of products with Xylitiol are:


· Sugar-free peanut butter & other condiments

· Sugar-free gum

· Sugar-free candy

· Sugar-free mints

· Sugar-free baked desserts

· Toothpaste

· Mouthwash

· Whitening strips

· Lotion

· Face wash

· Personal lubricant


For a FULL LIST of products, see below:

If you notice symptoms of Xylitol ingestion in your dog, take them to the vet right away. If your dog seems tired, has trouble walking, faints, throws up, or has diarrhea, take them to the vet within 12-24 hours for the best chance of recovery. If you suspect your dog has been exposed, please err on the side of caution and get them to your vet! It’s always better safe than sorry!

References:

Tarr Kent, Linda. "Dangers of Xylitol." LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.COM, 22 Apr. 2015. Web. 20 Nov. 2015.

Ferrell, Katie. "Xylitol Deadlier for Dogs than Chocolate." NBC4icom. WCMH-TV Columbus, 16 Nov. 2015. Web. 20 Nov. 2015.

"Xylitol Products | Preventive Vet." Xylitol Products | Preventive Vet. Preventativevet.com, n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2015.

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