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Xylitol Poisoning in Dogs

Xylitol may be a familiar word that you have heard before, or it may be entirely new for you. Xylitol is a sugar substitute that is becoming more common in food products because it has 40% less calories than regular sugar. As some of you may know, xylitol and dogs do not mix at all. Many posts have made their way around Facebook, explaining the dangers of xylitol and cautioning people who give their dogs pills in peanut butter. Xylitol is not just found in peanut butter. It is also found in a variety of other things, most commonly, chewing gum. Unfortunately, at Riverview Animal Hospital, we see a significant number of cases of xylitol poisoning, and it appears that they are becoming more common.

Poisoning can occur even with the ingestion of a single piece of gum. Many gum manufacturers will not list the amount of xylitol used in their product on the packaging, so it is difficult to determine the exact amount that is ingested. If xylitol is the first ingredient on the list, it is assumed that the product contains a large amount of it. If you think that your dog has ingested anything containing xylitol, contact a veterinarian immediately. There is no antidote or reversal agent for xylitol, so supportive treatment must be started immediately and aggressively.

If xylitol is just a sugar substitute, then why is it so dangerous to dogs? When a dog ingests Xylitol, gum, for example, the body reacts as if the xylitol was real sugar. The body releases large amounts of insulin to store the sugar. Because there is not actually any sugar to store, the insulin stores any sugar it can find in the bloodstream. When normal amounts of sugar are taken out of circulation, the dog will quickly become hypoglycemic. With extremely low blood sugar levels, dogs can experience weakness, vomiting, tremors, collapse, and seizures. If immediate treatment is not started, xylitol poisoning can cause death.

The good thing is, xylitol poisoning is completely preventable. In the cases we have seen recently, all of the dogs ingested packages of gum. By making sure that gum and other products containing xylitol are stored away from curious dogs, we can prevent these types of poisonings. Supervise kids that have gum as well to make sure that they aren’t sharing their treat with their four-legged friends. In these cases, the owners were lucky enough to be at home when the gum was ingested. If they had not been home, their dogs may not have received the medical care they needed in time. For your dog’s sake, it’s best to keep gum and other xylitol products completely out of reach, so there is no risk for accidental ingestion.

Some common household products that contain xylitol can include:

  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Chewing gum
  • Peanut butter
  • Sugar-free candy
  • Sugar-free breath mints
  • Fruit drinks
  • Jellies and jams
  • Cereals
  • Baked goods
  • Sugar-free puddings and Jello
  • Over the counter vitamin supplements

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 506.387.4015

Written by Kelsey Hewgill, RVT and Dr. Lethan Dwan



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Riverview Animal Hospital is committed to doing everything possible to combat the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.

As part of this commitment, effective immediately, Riverview Animal Hospital will be instituting the following precautionary protocol to minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

For the safety of yourself, our staff, and the community, clients will not be allowed to enter the building. We have initiated a Closed-Door Policy, we have locked our front doors. Please call 506.387.4015 when you arrive for your appointment. We will meet you outside to get your pet. The exam will take place in our hospital with your scheduled Doctor with communication via telephone. In addition, we are limiting pet food purchases to 2 bags/cases per order. You can also place an order through our Online Store by visiting our website.


- If possible, please call us at 506.387.4015 to let us know you are on the way so that we can be prepared to meet you upon your arrival at the hospital.

- When you arrive, please stay in your vehicle in our parking lot and call 506.387.4015 , and we'll come to you.

- If you do not have a phone or your pet's emergency is immediately life-threatening, please come to the front door and ring the bell.


We will no longer have suggested appointment times for urgent care situations

  • Please continue to call ahead to let us know that your pet is having an emergency and that you are on your way.
  • For our emergency hospital-evenings and weekends will be walk in only. Your pet will be triaged by a Veterinary technician, who will determine the level of care that is needed for your pet. Critical patients will be our top priority, and will be seen first.
  • This will increase wait times for patients that are triaged as non-urgent.
  • Thank you in advance for your understanding.


    Have you welcomed a new furry family member to your home? We’d love to meet them! Visit our Must Know New Pet Owner Information page for useful resources and helpful recommendations for new pet owners.