By Dr. Andrew Jones
The second most common ingredient that is poisoning our dogs is a ‘sugar substitute’ called Xylitol. Not only is it found in sugar free gum, it is also in veterinary dog mouthwashes.
Thousands of dogs each year are poisoned with xylitol.
Effects of Xylitol
1. Hypoglycemia (Low blood sugar)
In the canine body, the pancreas confuses xylitol with real sugar. The result is that blood sugar levels rapidly drop resulting in weakness, disorientation, tremors, and potentially seizures.
It only takes a few sticks of gums. A 10 lb dog could be poisoned by as little as a stick and a half of gum.
Symptoms typically begin within 30 minutes and can last for more than 12 hours. Vomiting and diarrhea may also occur.
2. Liver Damage ( Hepatic necrosis)
In this case much more gum is ingested (APPROX 10 TIMES the amount to cause hypoglycemia). A 10lb dog would be required to ingest an entire pack of gum.
There is actual destruction of liver tissue.
Signs take longer to show up (typically 8-12 hours) and not all dogs that have liver damage ( hepatic necrosis), will have experienced hypoglycemia first.
In some cases there is only mild signs, while with other dogs, a complete and acute liver failure can result with death following. Internal hemorrhage and inability of blood to clot is commonly involved.
The ideal treatment is inducing vomiting after consumption, within 30 minutes. After that time, treatment involves supportive care, IV fluids.
Xylitol in Veterinary Mouthwash for Dogs
What about Xylitol Containing Mouthwashes for Dogs?
Seems like a poor idea, yet some of the veterinary drug companies, such as Aquadent® by Virbac, Breathalyser Plus® from Ceva should be avoided.
Others have different opinions, yet if most pet owners, knew what was in these products, they would probaly stop giving them.
My suggestion is to avoid mouthwashes in general- stick with feeding your dog raw bones, carrots, and brushing their teeth if needed.
Dr Andrew Jones
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