Xylitol and Hypoglycemia in Dogs : Keep Sugar-Free Treats Out of Dog’s Reach,
Dog owners or even just dog lovers should know that giving sugar-free candy as a treat can be harmful to the animal because they can contain xylitol as alternative sweetener. Moreover, if you have a pack full of these sugar-free confectionery, make sure their out of your dog’s reach.
Be in the know that the sugar substitute known as xylitol can cause harm to canines in particular. Although larger dogs can be affected by xylitol when taken in massive doses, the sugar alternative has very little calorie content and does not raise blood sugar levels.
Xylitol is safe for humans because they are naturally occurring in plants and can be taken as remedy for blood-related disorders. However, for smaller and younger dogs, a single piece of candy would be enough to cause hypoglycemia. If undetected, the dog’s hypoglycemic condition could lead to liver damage. If left untreated it can cause death.
What is Hypoglycemia?
Hypoglycemia in humans is not actually a disease or disorder, but an indicator of a more serious health condition. When a person is in a hypoglycemic condition, it means his or her blood sugar level is falling below the normal; which should be at greater than 3.9 millimoles or at greater than 70 milligrams per deciliter. If it falls at that index or go lower, it means the body is being deprived of sugar that it needs as fuel or energy.
Dogs, specifically puppies under 3 months old, can easily go into a hypoglycemic condition once they ingest xylitol. Mainly because their bodies have not fully developed the ability to control their blood sugar levels. Unlike humans who can voice out feelings of not being well, a puppy suffering from hypoglycemia, has no way of letting its owner know that something is wrong.
More often than not, dog owners bring their pets to the vet only when the symptoms of hypoglycemia has turned from bad to worse. Usually, such symptoms start with loss of appetite and inactivity, or extreme lethargy. Low blood levels could further lead to muscle twitching, lack of muscle control, trembling and other unusual animal behavior.
If a dog suffering from hypoglycemia is still not brought to a veterinary or has been misdiagnosed with a different health problem that could worsen the sugar deprivation, the afflicted animal can go comatose and eventually die. Other causes of hypoglycemia in dogs include presence of intestinal parasites, malnutrition and extreme cold environment.