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Xylitol food poison and your GS dog

Now, you are wondering: what is xylitol? And, more importantly, what does it have to do with my German Shepherds health? Then we will clarify all your doubts:

What is xylitol?

Basically, xylitol is a sugar alcohol that is commonly used as a substitute for sugar. It can be found in a lot of fruits and cereals in nature, for example, in berries or corn, or even in the bark of some trees. For the commercial production of xylitol, an extraction is mainly made of corn fiber, birch trees or other vegetable materials.

As a final product , xylitol has the appearance of a white powder that looks and looks like sugar. In many countries its use has been marketed in oral care products, pharmaceuticals and also as a food additive.

Some of the products that may contain xylitol are sugar-free gum, peppermint tablets, many of the baked goods, sweetened syrups (for example, for cough), chewable vitamins for children, mouth rinses or toothpastes, among others .

Its use has been increasing because it contains the sweetening capacity of sucrose , but with only one third of the calories. It is also low in carbohydrates and does not raise the blood sugar level.


Why does it hurt my dog?

Although the consumption of xylitol is not harmful to humans, it is highly toxic to your German Shepherd. Even if given in small doses, xylitol can cause low blood sugar or liver failure.

In both humans and dogs, the level of sugar is controlled through the pancreas, which releases insulin for this purpose. It has been proven that, in non-primate species, the consumption of xylitol, even in small amounts, produces stimulation of the pancreas to release insulin, which ends up causing a rapid decrease in blood sugar levels .

Depending on the size of the can and the amount consumed, this hypoglycaemia can occur between ten and sixty minutes after the product has been ingested , and can have serious permanent consequences or even death. Therefore, it is very important to leave these products tightly closed and out of the reach of your pets.

How toxic is xylitol for my dog?

The reported dose is 50 milligrams for every pound the dog weighs. Therefore – although this varies enormously according to the brand of the product – three gums without sugar can cause severe poisoning in a medium-sized dog.

In general, a high consumption of xylitol will cause liver failure when it has been at least 225 mg. In case this happens, you should go immediately to the veterinarian.

That is why the ideal is to avoid all kinds of human treats and industrial bakery products , unless you know exactly the kind of ingredients with which they are made.


Alarm symptoms

The symptoms of xylitol poisoning are the same as those of poisoning :

  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Dificulty to walk
  • Difficulty standing
  • Tremors
  • Seizures

In case you notice some of these symptoms, go to the veterinarian immediately. Also, if you can identify the substance that your dog consumed, do not hesitate to tell him so that he can establish the diagnosis as soon as possible. Remember that in case of intoxication  you should not give anything to the dog or induce vomiting , because in case of hypoglycemia this only worsen their condition.

Although there is no specific cure for xylitol poisoning, it is treated with fluids, hepatic protective drugs and sugar supplements to restore levels.

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