With Halloween and the holiday season just around the corner, it is important that pet owners recognize that xylitol, an increasingly common artificial sweetener, can be downright deadly for their pets.

Xylitol is found in many treats, especially gums and sugar-free items such as candies or even pudding.  While it is safe for people, even a small amount can kill a dog.  When ingested, this artificial sweetener causes a rapid release of insulin in the pet’s body, leading to a sudden decrease in blood sugar.  Affected animals may vomit, become extremely weak, act drunk, or become unresponsive.  Higher doses can cause seizures, coma, and liver dysfunction or even failure.

If you suspect that your pet might have ingested a product containing xylitol, do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center immediately.