Xylitol and sorbitol share the common thread of both frequently being used as sugar replacements. These sugar alcohols are employed in a wide array of everyday items, from gums and candy to mouthwash. The substances have similarities, but they definitely don't affect canines the same way. For dogs, sorbitol's not so bad; xylitol bad.
Sorbitol has laxative properties, so in big amounts it can be problematic for pooches. If your pet takes in a lot of the stuff, it could trigger discomfort in the form of runny stool and flatulence. Tiny amounts of sorbitol, however, are usually not troubling to canines. It occasionally is seen as a component in canine toothpaste, for example. If you see that sorbitol is an ingredient in anything intended for your dog, talk to your veterinarian to check on its safety beforehand.
Although xylitol might sound a little like sorbitol, its effects on dogs are entirely different. It's innocuous for people, but actually severely poisonous to canines. Minimal amounts of it can even lead to seriously dangerous consequences, namely liver failure, seizures and declines in blood sugar. In some cases, xylitol can be deadly to dogs. Bigger amounts of xylitol can generally trigger more intense effects.
If your pet ingested xylitol, he might show indications of toxicity in an extremely brief period of time, often in a span of 10 to 15 minutes. Some common signs of this poisoning are throwing up, feebleness, problems walking, exhaustion, depression, falling down, jaundice and the passing of inordinately dark bowel movements. Comas are also a possibility. Not all cases of xylitol toxicity necessarily result in quick signs. Indications of poisoning occasionally take hours to show up. Xylitol consumption is an emergency situation in dogs, and requires urgent veterinary care. Veterinary assistance is based on the affected canine's specific case. Management often involves intravenous fluid therapy, encouraging vomiting and blood sugar supervision. Recovery potential is often high in dogs who receive prompt veterinary care.
If you have a dog in your home, it's your job to make sure he never has access to any xylitol, regardless of how small the amount might be. As far as minimum poisonous amounts go, intake of around 50 milligrams for each pound a dog weighs is thought to be sufficient to bring upon decreases in blood sugar.
- VCA Animal Hospitals: Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs
- Pet Poison Helpline: Xylitol
- Pet Poison Helpline: Is Xylitol Poisonous to Dogs?
- American Animal Hospital Association Healthy Pet: Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs
- Merrick Veterinary Group: Xylitol Toxicity
- ASPCA: Sorbitol
- New England Olde English Sheepdog Rescue: Products Sweetened With Xylitol Can Be Toxic to Dogs
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images