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Why Dog Lovers Hate Xylitol

Xylitol Toxic to Dogs ! While cruising the aisles at the natural foods market recently, I nearly collapsed in a heap when I realized that you can buy WHOLE BOXES of xylitol (a sugar-free sweetener) to use at home -- in baking and whatnot. I'd always thought the biggest risks to dogs (since xylitol is super toxic to dogs) was from food makers including xylitol in their products and not being particularly forthcoming about it and seemingly not giving a rat's @$$ that it's dangerous to dogs. Apparently, though, you can buy a whole box of death. Yikes! 


Best Xylitol Information for Dog Lovers

I won't even try to recreate the exceptional resources for dog-lovers posted on the Preventive Vet site about xylitol and dogs, including the most comprehensive list of products containing xylitol. It's even used in some skincare products and clothing. Don't ask me why!

I will say, however, that I will not allow anything in my home that contains xylitol. Period. I've returned packs of gum to the store after getting it home and realizing it contained xylitol.

Be really careful if you carry gum or mints yourself or if you find any on the ground when you are running around town with your dogs. Other people might not know about how dangerous xylitol is for dogs, and they could easily drop something.

Biggest Mistake When Looking for Xylitol in Products

Now that I need reading glasses (in addition to my contacts), it's a lot harder for me to read the ingredient lists on food packages -- especially if I don't have my reading glasses with me in stores.

And, recently, while skimming a pack of gum for xylitol, I came to the word ASPERTAME. It's also a sugar-free sweetener, and I made the MISTAKE of thinking that means there was NO xylitol in the gum. 

I was wrong. Xylitol was a couple lines down on the list of ingredients AFTER the aspertame.

Even if you find another sweetener listed in the list of ingredients, KEEP READING because the product may still contain xylitol.

xylitol toxic to dogs graphic

That Big Box of Death

It still kind of astounds me that you can get a half-pound box of xylitol -- big box of death for dogs -- without any warnings required. 

My long-time dentist recently touted the benefits of xylitol for human dental health in his patient newsletter, and I immediately emailed him to say ... Um, it's freaking deadly for dogs, so be sure your clients know that too. 

So, if any of your friends are on a new low-sugar kick in the New Year and bring xylitol into their homes inside products or in bulk, I beg you to alert them to the dangers to dogs. Thanks so much!

Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related. I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

Leo Tat - March 29, 2018

One animal poison control organization in Minneapolis received more than 1,500 calls for xylitol poisoning. Its pretty serious the problem it causes to pets, and they should also provide a caution. Personally I prefer to use stevia as a sugar substitute instead.
Leo Tat recently posted..3 Day Military Diet Plan Review: Lose 10 Pounds in a Week?My Profile

Sarah - February 20, 2018

Great post – I’ve been trying to get all my friends who have dogs to know more about this. Amazing how many people still have no idea!

    Roxanne Hawn - February 22, 2018

    Another friend said that it’s sold in BULK at her health food store. Can you imagine? That powder getting on the floor and onto shoes. Then tracked into their homes. I would FLIP OUT.

Edie Chase - January 24, 2018

Shared this post and the list of food and clothing. Thank you.

chris - January 24, 2018

Our toothpaste contains it. It is a natural toothpaste and the only thing I allow in our house with the ingredient in it. I make sure that everyone cleans up after brushing teeth and no empty toothpaste container or kleenex that have wiped it up be put in the general garbage. They have to take it to a garbage can that is up on the counter away from dogs. Unfortunately I have chemical allergies and that is the only toothpaste that I can use that does not have the other stuff I am allergic to.

katie waterman - January 24, 2018

I have to look at all the ingredients in packaging. My mother is Gluten Intolerant and I have a dog that has severe food allergies. Many times ingredients are hidden way down at the bottom because there is not “a lot” of it included BUT even a small amount can be harmful to living creatures.

joyce - January 24, 2018

Last year I saw Xylitol in, of all places, Whole Foods….Yikes….I contacted management and complained that, at the very least, the labeling on this product should be clear that it is highly toxic to dogs…and the labeling is not so clear….Whole Foods contacted me through email…it was obvious they didn’t care either….nothing happened regarding either, no longer carrying this product or insisting the labeling be clear as to it’s toxicity to dogs…I saw this blog and it rekindled my efforts to get Whole Foods to address the fact they they are caring a product so poorly labeled… anyone out there who buys at Whole Foods should maybe contact them as well to express your concerns. The Dog Tutor in Atlanta.

Shadow's & Ducky's Mom - January 24, 2018

I can so relate to the reading glasses/contacts issue! But I got fed up with it, and with the contacts in general, and have gone back to wearing my regular eyeglasses full-time.

As for the xylitol, I’m right there with you! Unfortunately, hubby is a stubborn cuss who HAS TO have his Diet Pepsi. Thankfully, neither of the dogs is prone to licking it when it spills on the carpet or chair (which it has at times) before we’ve been able to blot it up into a towel or paper towel. But other than the Diet Pepsi, there is nothing in the house that’s either low-sugar or sugar-free. I hate the aftertaste of the phony sweeteners so refuse to use them. If something needs sweetening, I’ll use real sugar or honey.

    Roxanne Hawn - January 24, 2018

    I’m with you on that! I’d rather have REAL sugar or REAL butter or REAL whatever than any kind of weird ingredient. I think Diet Pepsi now uses splenda (sucralose) rather than aspertame. So, you’re probably safe from xylitol for now, but definitely keep an eye out because things change.

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