May 06 2020

The Hidden Dangers of Xylitol and Other Pet Toxins

Springtime is all about spending time in the backyard, grilling up our favorite foods, and baking delicious desserts for family get togethers, picnics, and more. Holidays and long weekends are also high time for getting our grub on, but there are many ingredients in our food that are also pet toxins

The team at Paws, Purrs, and Exotics Animal Hospital want to keep your pet safe by educating owners about these toxins and what you should do to avoid a pet emergency.


This sugar substitute has been around for some time, but with the increase in demand for sugar alternatives, it’s now used much more frequently than in the past. The Pet Poison Helpline reported that more than 20,000 cases of Xylitol poisoning have occured since 2018, and they expect continued increase. 

Some items that Xylitol is often found in include:

  • Peanut butter
  • Sugar-free candies
  • Pastries
  • BBQ sauce
  • Gum
  • Toothpaste
  • Shaving cream

The list goes on. 

Why Is Xylitol So Toxic?

The reason why Xylitol is so toxic to pets is that this chemical acts on your dog’s body by signalling to the pancreas to release insulin. The insulin then decreases sugar in the bloodstream, dropping their blood sugar levels to dangerous lows. 

Symptoms to look for when it comes to Xylitol toxicity are:

  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Imbalance
  • Weakness
  • Low heart rate
  • Collapse
  • Seizure

Symptoms can set in within 30 minutes after your pet ingested this ingredient. Xylitol poisoning can lead to liver failure and death if not treated right away, so it is important to follow up quickly with any of these symptoms. 

Other Common Pet Toxins

Along with Xylitol, there are some things to be on the lookout for when protecting your pet.

  • Chocolate 
  • Coffee and caffeine drinks
  • Marijuana
  • Alcohol
  • Vaping chemicals
  • Grapes and raisins
  • Spring flowers, like lilies, daffodil, and azalea
  • Human medications, such as antidepressants, ibuprofen, and ADHD medications
  • Rat and mouse poisons
  • Chemicals in household cleaners
  • Pesticides and fertilizers

Be aware that each species reacts differently to these poisons, and small mammals, birds, and reptiles are especially sensitive to even fumes, like essential oils. Take care by keeping your pet away from anything potentially toxic.

Preventing a Pet Poisoning Emergency

As with any risk, the key to safety is awareness and education. Learn more about possible pet poisons in your home and yard and swap them out with pet friendly options. If you are in doubt about a product, you can call us. We are here to help.

Stow away all chemicals and medications, cover trash containers, and keep human foods out of your pet’s reach. For more information on Xylitol or other pet toxins, or to schedule an appointment, please call us

pawspurrsandexoticsah | Pet Emergencies & First-Aid, Pet Toxins

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *