Have you ever heard of Xylitol?
Furthermore, did you know that Xylitol is toxic to dogs? Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that can cause serious health issues in your dog including possible death. Xylitol is a common ingredient found in gum and baked goods. Xylitol may be tricky to locate on package ingredient labels because it often goes by different names. Xylitol is often labeled as sugar alcohol, birch sugar, or wood sugar.
Some of the most common food items that may contain xylitol include:
- Sugar free candy
- Sugar free gum
- Sugar free foods
- Keto or low carb foods
- Vegetarian foods
- Peanut butter
- Nasal sprays
- Chewable vitamins
It doesn’t take much xylitol to cause ill effects in a dog. Small breed dogs like Shih Tzus are at an even greater risk because of their relatively small stature. Doses over 0.5 grams may cause liver toxicity and possibly lead to death. Xylitol gum typically has up to 1 gram of xylitol per piece. That is enough to kill a small dog like a Shih Tzu!
When my children were young we got our first dog. We tried to educate ourselves as much as possible before our puppy arrived. I even went as far as to avoid gum chewing in the home because my children were notorious for dropping things.
One day, I went to take our puppy into the puppy proofed dog yard to play. I turned my back for a minute and turned around to see her chewing on a stick of gum. By the time I got to her she had already chewed up part of it. I called my veterinarian and she told me to try to induce vomiting with peroxide. I wasn’t certain if the gum contained xylitol but wasn’t willing to take any chances.
Our puppy wasn’t vomiting after the peroxide. It was after hours but my veterinarian agreed to meet me at her office. Our vet ended up pumping our puppy’s stomach which fortunately removed the gum. Our puppy ended up being fine. But, if I hadn’t noticed our puppy eating the gum the outcome could have been tragic!
We never found out how the gum ended up in the yard. I suspect one of the kids or their friends accidentally dropped it from their pocket. I learned my lesson! I always from that day forward did a quick sweep of the yard before letting my dogs outside. Doing a quick daily check of the home inside and out is much less stressful than losing a family pet.
Some of the symptoms that you can look out for if you expect poisoning include:
- Lack of coordination
As a responsible Shih Tzu breeder, I always educate my puppy parents on how important it is to keep puppies away from toxic substances. I highly recommend not having xylitol containing products in your home unless it is safely stored away and properly handled.
If your dog ever does ingest xylitol or any other poison contact your veterinarian for advice immediately. Time is of the essence when it comes to xylitol ingestion in your pet. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Your dogs life may be on the line!