The Risks of some Sugar Free Foods to Dogs

Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs

Sugar alternatives such as Xylitol are used widely for human food.  While Xylitol is fine for humans, it is highly toxic for dogs.
As little as 2 Tic Tac gums will poison a 5kg dog and the toxic effect can occur within 30 minutes.


There are 2 Main Effects of Xylitol

  1. Hypoglycaemia which is potentially fatal within 30 minutes of ingestion
    *Signs of hypoglycaemia includevomiting, lethargy, difficulty standing, weakness, and tremors or shaking
  1. Liver failure which occurs with high doses, and takes 8-12 hours to see effect.

What to do if your dog eats a food containing Xylitol:

Immediately take your dog to the vet. If you get to the vet quickly the dog can be made to vomit the gum or candy.
Remember to bring the packaging so the amount of Xylitol consumed can be calculated.

The dog is likely to be put on an IV drip and monitored for 24-72 hours with regular blood tests to check blood glucose levels and the liver.

Check Food Labels!

It’s important to check the label on any food your dog eats especially if it’s labelled low sugar, sugar free or ‘naturally sweet’.
Peanut butter is commonly used in home-made dog treats and training aids.  Most peanut butters are safe, but some low sugar peanut butters contain Xylitol.
While Tic Tac lollies don’t contain Xylitol, Tic Tac gum does.

Be wary of any ingredient list that contains the letters ”xyl’’including xylite, xylitide glucoside, or E967.

Low Sugar Products that MAY contain Xylitol include:

  • Chewing gum.
  • Sugar-free lollies and mints.
  • Fruit drinks and smoothies.
  • Jellies, jams, ice cream and yoghurt.
  • Peanut butter and nut butters.
  • Toothpaste and mouthwash.

What about cats and other animals?

There have been no reports of Xylitol toxicity in cats and Xylitol is considered to be nontoxic to cats. There have reports of Xylitol poisoning in birds fed Xylitol sweetened nectar.

If you use any products that contain Xylitol, keep them out of your dog’s reach.  If you think your dog has ingested anything containing Xylitol, seek veterinary help immediately.