Xylitol is a sugar substitute used in many human products such as sugar-free gum, mints, chewable vitamins, dental products, and baked goods. It also can be purchased in a granulated form. This sweetener has been popular in Europe and Japan and its popularity in the United States has grown rapidly over the last few years.

While xylitol is safe for people, dogs can develop serious problems from ingesting this substance. Xylitol causes severe, even life-threatening low blood sugar and liver necrosis(destruction of) in dogs. Reports of xylitol poisonings and deaths in dogs are increasing – these dogs have eaten a variety of products such as cookies, gum, cupcakes, muffins, and even the granulated form.

Other artificial sweeteners such as saccharin, aspartame, and sucralose are regarded as safe for the dog and should not cause significant illness even if large amounts are ingested.

Please check your cupboard for any products containing xylitol and eliminate them from your dog’s environment. Also, check labels on diet products you purchase to make sure only safe artificial sweeteners are used. Remember – your dog will seek out goodies, so don’t assume that “out of sight” is “out of reach.”