Xylitol sweetener may kill your pet

Xylitol sweetener is one of the many products you might have in your home that could harm or kill one of your pets. Most realize certain things should not be fed to dogs, but might overlook products for humans that contain xylitol sweetener. In fact, many pet owners might not know that they have products in their kitchens that contain xylitol. 

While xylitol sweetener is found in gum, candy and other foods, some with pets do not realize this can and will kill a pet. Xylitol is not something a dog or cat will be able to metabolize. Like other products dogs and cats should not be given as food, anything containing xylitol should be guarded if it is in a home where there are petsJust a small amount of this sweetener can kill a dog in less than a day, although symptoms won’t necessarily show up for a few hours.


The dog in this photo was not given xylitol and is safe! The photo used with this information belongs the author of this post. 

Some who are familiar with xylitol sweetener might already be aware that this is dangerous for pets to consume. According to the American Kennel Club, xylitol poisonings in dogs have increased significantly in recent years. The reason we may hear more about dogs consuming xylitol than we do cats might be due to the fact that some will offer sweets to dogs, but not cats. Also some foods low in sugar, such as cookies or cupcakes, might contain xylitol sweetener without the consumer being aware. No pet needs a sweet treat that is intended for humans. 


Those not familiar with xylitol sweetener may want to know that this is a considered a safe product when it is used by humans. Like many products on the market, nothing made with xylitol is safe for pets. Xylitol was used in other countries before becoming popular in the United States. However, while this sweetener is harmless to humans who need or want to avoid sugar, it is never safe for any animal.
Products that might contain xylitol include candy, cookies and other bakery items, gelatin products, gum, supplements, toothpaste and more. One of the most complete lists of products that contain xylitol is offered online is by Preventive Vet and can be viewed here on that site. 

Anyone suspecting that a pet has consumed something containing xylitol sweetener should seek the help of a veterinarian immediately. There often is not much hope to save a cat or dog that has eaten a certain amount of xylitol. However, the sooner a veterinarian checks the pet, the better the chances are the pet might make a recovery. Be sure to bring the packaging of any product containing xylitol that was eaten by the pet with you when you visit the veterinarian.





    1. Profile photo of Pat Z Anthony
      Pat Z Anthony Post author

      It must be a terrible thing for a pet owner to realize they have poisoned their pet with a food that contains xylitol.

  1. Profile photo of Marsha Cooper
    Marsha Cooper

    Makes perfect sense and it’s great to get the word out.
    I sit here thinking sweetner and wondering what pet owner would feed their pets sweets to begin with. I should go check out the whole list in case there are foods that aren’t sweet that contain it.

    1. Profile photo of Pat Z Anthony
      Pat Z Anthony Post author

      My next post about pets addresses some of these issues. Gotta’ wonder what people are thinking, but then look how many give kids soda! Yikes.

  2. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
    Kyla Matton Osborne

    I don’t have any pets but will definitely keep this information in mind for the future. It seems pretty common sense that we shouldn’t feed animals treats that were meant for people. Table scraps, candy or cookies, and the like are simply not intended for pets. And as you point out in the case of xylitol, letting them eat “people food” can be potentially fatal.

  3. Profile photo of Andria Perry
    Andria Perry

    xylitol sweetener will give humans sever gas and bloating, not to mention running to the toilet.

    I have never liked this one.

    I did not know it would kill animals!

    I stumbled this article.

    1. Profile photo of Kyla Matton Osborne
      Kyla Matton Osborne

      I generally don’t eat anything that uses alternative sweeteners, for health reasons. One positive about xylitol is that it’s a naturally occurring sugar alcohol and not an artificial sweetener. i can’t stand any of those. And even find Stevia rather bitter to the taste.

      I don’t know that I’ve ever consumed xylitol, but I do know when I found mannitol (another sugar alcohol) hidden in processed food, I had the kind of reaction you describe, @andriaperry

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