Posts Tagged ‘xylitol’

Review these tips from the American Veterinary Medical Association on how to let your pet enjoy Halloween safely and happily!

Halloween safety tips
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Protect your pet

It’s safe to say that most, if not all, households have a supply of medications on hand, for the human residents of the house. Many of these homes also feature pets — and to a curious dog or cat, your medication could look like a delicious treat.

Dr. Justine Lee, a veterinarian who is board-certified in toxicology [a science dealing with poisons], has 3 recommendations that everyone can follow to reduce the chance that their pet will become a victim of accidental medication poisoning.

  1. If you use pill boxes, put them out of your pet’s reach. Cats and some dogs can climb onto the counter and grab hold of whatever they find there, so remove the temptation.
  2. Hang up backpacks, purses, and briefcases because they often contain basic (but dangerous) items like pills, Tylenol, xylitol gum and candy, coins, and cellphones with batteries.
  3. Ask house guests to keep medications in sturdy containers, out of the pet’s reach. “It’s really easy for dogs to chew into [plastic bags and suitcases],” warns Dr. Lee.

And if you suspect your pet has gotten into your medication? Take action right away by calling the Pet Poison Helpline — there is a fee for service, but the information they provide can help save your pet’s life.

Pet Poison Helpline 
Call 1-855-764-7661
Open 24/7
$59 incident fee applies 

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You may be aware that Xylitol is a sugar alcohol ingredient of gum and candy that is harmful to pets.

But did you know that Xylitol is also found in medicines, dental products, and homemade desserts?

Check this partial list of Xylitol sources, then go here for a more complete list.

  • chewing gum
  • breath mints
  • mouthwash
  • toothpaste
  • sugar substitute used in baking bread, muffins, cupcakes
  • over-the-counter medications
  • dietary supplements and vitamins
  • nasal spray
  • prescription drugs, including sleep aids, sedatives, antacids, smoking-cessation gums, stool softeners
  • prepared foods such as Jell-O sugar-free pudding snacks, Zipfizz energy drink-mix powders, Nature’s Hollow products

So what’s the big deal?
Xylitol causes hypoglycemia and hepatic necrosis in pets.

Hypoglycemia is an abnormally low level of sugar in the blood. In severe cases, hypoglycemia leads to convulsions and coma.

Hepatic necrosis — in which the cells of the liver die off — leads to liver failure, if not caught in time.

We consider Xylitol ingestion to be an emergency. If you suspect your pet has eaten a product containing Xylitol, contact your nearest veterinary emergency hospital or the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-800-213-6680.

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Tonight is the first night of the Easter Triduum:  Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, which bring Lent to an end and begin the Easter Season.

Since I won’t be posting on Sunday, allow me this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Easter.



As for the pet-related content, remember that chocolate (especially dark chocolate, unsweetened chocolate and unsweetened cocoa powder) and candies containing the artificial sweetener Xylitol are especially toxic to pets.

We have a Chocolate Toxicity Wheel provided by the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, which assists the veterinarian in determining the relative risk of chocolate ingestion in dogs. But let’s be honest: it’s better if we never have to use it! Keep those Easter treats of out your pet’s reach.


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