Xylitol is one of the hidden holiday dangers for our pets. It is a sugar substitute and can be found in sugar free gum, mints, candy, chocolate, vitamins, drink mixes, peanut butter and even toothpaste. If ingested, it can cause low blood sugar and liver damage in your pet. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, may occur quickly in your pet or may take several hours. Symptoms include shaking, weakness, lethargy and decreased appetite and possibly seizures. Liver conditions may occur up to a day or two later if untreated. The danger of Xylitol is dose dependent so you would need to check with your veterinarian about the amount that would be dangerous for your pet, especially if you own a small breed dog. You can contact Lockerby Animal Hospital if you have any questions about Christmas food safety for your dog or cat.
If you suspect your pet has eaten xylitol, contact your veterinarian to determine if they need to be seen. The ASPCA Poison Control website provides more information on the topic.