It may look harmless, but Xylitol, most commonly found in sugarless chewing gum, is one of the top toxins for dogs.

Xylitol is a natural sweetener on Trupanion’s list of top ten poison and toxicity claims. Hailed as a healthy alternative to sugar for people, this substance has deadly consequences for our canine friends.

Recently, a 2-year-old golden retriever named Luna suffered severe liver damage after getting into a sealed package of sugarless gum. In just 24 hours, the Xylitol had done so much damage that Luna’s owners made the painful decision to put her down.

The reason dogs have such an adverse reaction to this substance is that their bodies are tricked into thinking their blood sugar levels are too high. The pancreas then produces excess insulin, causing their blood sugar levels to crash. It can also causes seizures and liver damage and can rapidly lead to complete liver failure.

Symptoms of Xylitol toxicity include:

  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty walking
  • Seizures
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Tremors
  • Weakness of limbs

Experts believe that Xylitol is 100 times more toxic to dogs than chocolate. Sugarless gum is the most common culprit, but other sources include:

  • Toothpaste
  • Dental Floss
  • Baked goods
  • Cough syrup
  • Children’s vitamins
  • Breath mints
  • Mouthwash

If you suspect your dog has Xylitol poisoning, take them to the veterinarian immediately.


Animal Wellness is North America's top natural health and lifestyle magazine for dogs and cats, with a readership of over one million every year. AW features articles by some of the most renowned experts in the pet industry, with topics ranging from diet and health related issues, to articles on training, fitness and emotional well being.