Xylitol is a sweetener sometimes used in foods, such as some peanut butters and chewing gums. While it is considered OK for humans to ingest, non-primates process Xylitol differently, and it can cause your pet serious harm. In the past five years, the Pet Poison Helpline has received over 1500 calls for Xylitol poisoning.
A quick biology review: The pancreas regulates blood sugar levels by releasing insulin.
Xylitol doesn't stimulate insulin in humans, but it does - in large amounts, and very quickly - in non-primates. Within ten minutes to an hour, this causes low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, which can be extremely dangerous to your pet.
Some brands of gum contain one gram per piece, which means your pet can suffer from severe hypoglycemia after eating only two pieces, and ten pieces can cause liver failure.
Symptoms show within 15-30 minutes and include vomiting, weakness, walking like drunk, depression, tremors, seizures, and coma. Immediate medical attention is essential.
Read the Ingredients: CAUTION to pet owners who add peanut butter to treats, toys, and other items for dogs: some now contain Xylitol.
Contact the Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680) or your vet right away if you think your pet has ingested any potential poisons, and never assume if HUMANS can eat it, our pets can!