Artificial Sweetener Can Mean Danger To Dogs

Chicago Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center doctors share a warning for dog owners.

CHICAGO, Aug. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Doctors at the Chicago Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center have created a new infographic to warn dog owners about the dangers the artificial sweetener, Xylitol, presents to dogs. A sugar substitute, Xylitol, which is safe for human consumption, is highly toxic to dogs and can lead to the animal's death.  Xylitol can be found in products such as sugar-free candy, sugar-free gum, sugar-free baked goods, toothpaste, vitamins and mouthwash.

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"Even a small amount of xylitol can make dogs seriously ill," said Chicago Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center Supervising Veterinarian Dr. Jerry Klein. According to Dr. Klein, symptoms of Xylitol ingestion can appear as quickly as 10-15 minutes after exposure. Dr. Klein suggests, "If your dog starts showing signs of unusual lethargy, loss of coordination, weakness, seizures or vomiting, seek immediate veterinary care. If your veterinarian is not available, contact Chicago Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center, or a pet poison control hotline."

Xylitol can cause a rapid release of insulin into the dog's bloodstream, leading to a severe drop in blood-sugar levels (hypoglycemia).  The symptoms of lethargy, loss of coordination and vomiting can be followed by internal hemorrhaging, liver failure and death. Treatment can be extensive and may require blood tests, induced vomiting, IV fluids, blood transfusions, medications and hospitalization. Sometimes, the dog cannot be saved.

Chicago Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center strongly urges dog owners to take the following steps to prevent harm to dogs: 

  • Keep sugar-free candies and sugar-free gum out-of the reach of your dog.
  • If you keep sugar-free candy or sugar-free gum in your purse, make certain that it is in a zippered compartment and out of the reach of dogs.
  • Never give your pet baked goods and be extra careful to keep sugar-free baked goods out of your dog's reach.
  • Use only pet-formulated tooth care products when brushing your dog's teeth.
  • Keep products such as vitamins, mouthwash and toothpaste out of your dog's reach.

If a dog ingests Xylitol, it should be considered a medical emergency and owners should seek immediate treatment from a veterinarian.


The infographic is available for use by the media in JPEG and PDF formats. It can be provided in another format if necessary.


Chicago Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center will make every effort to have a veterinarian available for interviews on this topic.

About Chicago Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center


Chicago's oldest and largest pet emergency facility, the Chicago Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center provides advanced emergency, critical and specialty care for cats and dogs. Each year, the center treats more than 11,000 cats and dogs in its emergency room and thousands more are cared for by veterinary specialists.

Staffed by highly trained specialists and equipped with the latest technology, Chicago Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center is always open – 24-hours, every day of the year.

In addition to emergency veterinarians and staff, the facility offers board-certified veterinarians who specialize in cardiology, dentistry, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology and surgery. This state-of-the-art facility includes ultrasound and MRI equipment, specialized surgical suites, a blood bank, specialized oxygen cages, heart monitors and more. A cancer and rehabilitation center is located across the street. Chicago Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center has been providing emergency care for cats and dogs since 1978.


Media Contact: Virginia Mann, Virginia V. Mann, Etc., 312-420-3344,

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SOURCE Chicago Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center



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