Thursday, September 07, 2006

Popular Sweetener Can Be Toxic For Pets

Low-carb products sweetened with Xylitol may cause harm to your pet

If you are the owner of any dogs and use low-carb or sugar-free products that are sweetened with the artificial sweetener Xylitol, then listen up!

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has an Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) which has put out a stern warning to you regarding the up-and-coming sugar alternative Xylitol because is has been known to cause some rather serious problems in dogs.

It seems that dogs will be dogs and eat just about whatever they can get their teeth into. Unfortunately for Buster, though, that curiousity can be bad news if the item he is eating contains Xylitol because it can cause a sudden drop in your pet's blood sugar which can lead to depression, lack of coordination and even seizures. APCC said this can happen as quickly as thirty minutes after ingesting the Xylitol-based product.

APCC veterinary toxicologist Dr. Eric Dunayer once believed only higher doses of Xylitol would cause problems in canines. However, the latest research has shown that this assumption was incorrect.

“We seem to be learning new information with each case we manage,” he said. “We also have begun to see problems developing from ingestions of products with lesser amounts of this sweetener.”

Just how bad has this problem gotten? In 2005, there were a little more than 170 cases involving pets eating Xylitol products and having medical issues as a result. In 2004, there only 70 such cases. So what about the first six months of 2006? There have already been 114 cases through the end of June.

“It’s difficult to say why there’s such an increase,” an APCC representative explained. “Xylitol products are relatively new to the United States marketplace, so one possibility may be an increase in availability.”

It's true. Xylitol is beginning to be used more and more in a lot of low-carb, sugar-free gums, mints, and other such products. If you are livin' la vida low-carb and use these foods sweetened with Xylitol, then please keep them in a place where your dog cannot get to them. Make sure you read the labels of the products you use to see if they contain Xylitol or not so you can be aware.

This story did not say anything regarding the effect of Xylitol on cats or whether any other sweeteners such as Splenda, Nutrasweet, ACE-K, Sweet N' Low, etc. But it's probably a good idea to keep all of these away from any pets you may own as a safeguard.

There is an excellent resource provided to pet owners by APCC if you believe your pet has consumed anything with Xylitol in it. A toll-free emergency hotline number is available 24 hours a day if you need them:


Of course, you should also contact your local veterinarian if you need immediate assistance with helping your pet in the event of an adverse reaction to ingesting Xylitol.

On a personal note, that beautiful orange cat you see at the top of this blog post is the latest addition to the Moore household's pet population. Her name is Peaches and she replaces our beloved Millie Jo who died of cancer earlier this year. This kitten is a wild one, too, getting into anything and everything without a care in the world. She's spunky, energetic, and provides Christine and I LOADS of free entertainment! :D I've never seen a cat play with her food like Peaches does. She's our little "stupid." LOL!

I'll be sure that she, Muffin, Ginger and Smokey (the rest of our cat crew!) stay away from the Xylitol. Unless I'm mad at them...JUST KIDDING! Do what you have to do to protect your dogs and cats from this seemingly harmless sweetener.

Labels: , , , ,


Blogger Dr Franklin J Miller said...

You have to wonder how good it is for humans then don't you?

9/07/2006 9:34 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

When I was posting this tonight, somehow I knew someone would bring up the safety of Xylitol in humans. Dr. Miller, I'm sure you're a fine man, but there is no evidence that these devastating negative health effects that Xylitol has on dogs has ANYTHING to do with human consumption.

I've eaten Xylitol many times and about the worst thing it causes is gas from being a sugar alcohol. Otherwise, it's pretty harmless to humans.

But I do appreciate your input. :)

9/07/2006 10:42 PM  
Blogger Newbirth said...

Is Peaches an orange tabby? Female orange tabbies aren't common. Most females with the gene for orange are torties. My Abby is one of those exceptions - a female orange tabby and oh so beautiful.


9/07/2006 11:15 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Funny this issue hasn't arisen in Japan, where Xylitol is very common. Another phantom food panic, encouraged by the chemically sounding name?

114 "cases" involving "issues" related to Xylitol? You take a pet to a vet with a problem, maybe minor, maybe nothing. How's the vet going to know what caused it? He's read something about Xylitol, the latest trendy pet epidemic. Yeah, that's the ticket! Report it to some hotline -- be the first vet on your block to see a Xylitol case.

Read critically: "we seem to be learning," "it's difficult to say," "one possibility." These guys have no clue what they're talking about.

9/07/2006 11:57 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Hey Newbirth,

I knew you'd like Peaches being a cat lover, too! :D

Yes, she is an orange tabbie which makes her extra special, eh?

She's a cutey-pie even if she can be a pain in the #^&* sometimes. LOL!

9/08/2006 8:34 AM  
Blogger Bowulf said...

As to animal bad = human bad, I'd just bring up chocolate and tylenol. Both are bad to dogs, but fine to humans. It is inevitable that some animals have different allergies or capacities to eat to different substances. I personally am allergic to drinking from the toilet and eating my own vomit, but my dog doesn't seem to that aversion.

9/08/2006 10:04 AM  
Blogger The Happy Low Carb Taco said...


Just some quick input- household pets such as dogs and cats are not very common in Japan. The boyfriend has been a few times and most people there simply don't have the room or time for large pets such as those.

Bottomline, Xylitol is common in Japan, but pets are not.

So, it may not be a case of scaremongering.

9/08/2006 2:50 PM  
Blogger LindaLCforLife said...

Jimmy - I missed what you wrote back in April about your kitten dying from leukemia. I'm so sorry. We lost our cat, Rahja, who would have been 2 years old May, an orange tabby, February 6, 2006 and it was really an emotional ordeal for us too, so I can really sympathize. Since then we have adopted 2 more, so we now have a male orange tabby, Simba, who will be 2 years old in November and a beautiful velvet black, yellow-eyed female, Sheba. We aren't sure of Sheba's age, could be around 1 or so.

I hadn't heard about the Xylitol issue. I agree that it's a good idea to be careful. On the Feline Future website there is a story about a cat that almost died from ingesting tomatoes that were left on a counter. Too many people think that if humans can eat it, their pets can too.

Since we're on the subject, right now there is a major epidemic of obesity, diabetes, renal disease and UTIs in cats caused from the high-carb, corn-based dry food they are being fed. Obesity and diabetes are increasing in dogs. We're feeding animals that have been carnivores for centuries a high-carb diet that is deemed "healthy" by the food companies and media, who are indifferent to the suffering they are inflicting on these innocent animals. Many vets are ignorant when it comes to nutrition for animals and are influenced by the food companies and media. There is a lot of information and scientific research regarding feeding cats and dogs at the website. Another good source for this topic is vet's website,

I didn't know that orange tabby cats are usually male. That's interesting. I've heard that calico cats are usually female.

9/08/2006 5:59 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

The Happy Low Carb Taco,

I live in Japan, and what you say had been somewhat true in the past, but dogs are very common these days, even in Tokyo, and the latest trend in new construction is pet-friendly apartments, with, for instance, washing stations outside the entrance.

And outside of urban areas, dogs are as common as in the U.S. People who stereotype Japanese living conditions usually do so based on the big cities. There's a lot of Japan where people have several cars, drive everywhere, do their shopping at shopping centers and big box stores, have big gardens, and otherwise live more or less like Americans (which includes getting fat, unlike their urban cousins!).

In the cities, smaller dogs predominate, with the expected periodic fads -- chihuahuas were the big thing when a financial company used one in a commercial. Outside of the cities, larger dogs are more common. But having said that, even in Tokyo people walk huge dogs, so I guess they are able to keep them somewhere.

I'd think the Xylitol problem would be even _more_ apparent in situations where small dogs live indoors all the time, than with larger dogs who live outdoors, have less access to human food, and would require a higher dosage for poisoning to be apparent.

I guess I'm just hypersensitive to certain sorts of bogus "scientific" claims, living in Japan. Mercury in fish? What a joke! If it caused any harm, the whole country of Japan would be drooling, because they eat ten times as much, of all kinds, as Americans, and that includes pregnant women. Asians lactose-intolerant? The Japanese must not have gotten the memo, since all kids drink a carton of milk for lunch every day and have done so since WWII, and everybody eats ice cream.

9/09/2006 12:46 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

Not only chocolate, but ONIONS are dangerous to cats.

9/10/2006 3:49 PM  
Blogger Linda said...


That's why I only feed my cats Nutro.

9/10/2006 3:51 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home