What can help you reduce your weight, reduce periodontal disease, and even aid in ear and throat infections, may prove lethal to your dog. And, it is contained in a very unsuspecting product – sugarless gum. Quite lethal in fact is Xylitol, a sugar substitute found in some sugarless gums, such as Trident, Orbit and Ice Breakers.

It does not take much to put your pet into a critical situation. A stick-and-a-half of some sugarless gums can poison a 10 lb. dog. Symptoms typically begin within 30 minutes of ingestion and can last for 12 hours with possible vomiting and diarrhea. This is an emergency and patients should be taken to the veterinarian immediately.

Once at the hospital, the dog will be made to vomit and then a sugar IV drip will be administered. Liver enzyme and blood clotting tests will be monitored for two to three days. This treatment hopefully counteracts the two deadly effects of Xylitol poisoning – hypoglycemia and hepatic necrosis, (liver destruction).

Fortunate dogs will experience temporary illness. However, Sun Valley Animal Center reports two recent cases in which one dog’s ingestion of Xylitol resulted in permanent liver damage and another case ended in death.

If you would like to learn more about Xylitol poisoning, please call Maggie Acker, DVM, 208-726-7777.