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“And there it was, that lump in my throat…

Everyone once in a while the Human Animal Bond is palpable.

I feel it even after 17 years of Small Animal Medicine.”

A few weeks ago, my next client appeared around the corner of the treatment room, he was a clean cut older gentle man. He reminded me of someone from the 40’s, well slicked back hair, white t shirt, belt and blue jeans.  He laid his dog on the table. I examined the dog that was showing multiple signs of a dog that was well past his prime.  After further examination I regrettably determined that his dog had advanced stages of cancer and that it appeared to have spread to multiple areas of his body.

And there it was that lump in my throat as I looked at this gentleman loving look at his dog and say.

 “Well, it was you and me for a long time and now it’s just going to be me”.

 I could feel the love and companionship this dog had offered his owner, they were a team.  

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Apr 27, 2017 9:21:00 AM By Barry Miller benefits, pets, children, autism, Behavior,

Poison Prevention Week: Dogs

Xylitol: Safe for People, Deadly to Dogs

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar-alcohol found in many types of fruits and vegetables and used as a sugar substitute in many common products. Appealing to dieters because of its sweet taste and small amount of calories, Xylitol is also widely used by diabetics who must monitor their sugar intake. While it has been determined to be a safe product for human consumption, Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs, for a ten pound dog, ingesting one piece of gum may be all it takes for the animal to suffer from hypoglycemia.

Xylitol Dangers for Dogs


In both dogs and humans, the pancreas controls the level of blood sugar through the release of insulin. When Xylitol is ingested by humans there is only a small release of insulin. 
However, when Xylitol is ingested by a dog:

  • The substance is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, which stimulates the pancreas to rapidly release insulin
  • Shortly after ingestion, the animal will experience hypoglycemia, a sudden decrease in its blood sugar level
  • Without the proper veterinary treatment, hypoglycemia can be life-threatening


Symptoms of Xylitol Poisoning

Signs of Xylitol toxicity develop rapidly, sometimes within 15 to 30 minutes following ingestion, but are usually evident within 1 to 2 hours. In some pets, toxicity may not show for up to 12 hours. Symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Incoordination
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Liver failure

What to Do If Your Pet Ingests Xylitol

  • Contact their veterinarian immediately
  • Have product label of item ingested when they phone for help, if possible
  • Do not take steps unless directed by a veterinarian

Prompt veterinary care is essential in order to help an animal that has ingested Xylitol.  You may also

call the Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680) 

Do you have Products in your house with Xylitol?

Xylitol is found naturally in small amounts in many fruits, vegetables, and some trees, for example:

  • Raspberries
  • Plums
  • Corn
  • Birch wood  

As manufactured and used as an added ingredient, Xylitol is commonly found in many types of products, for example:

  • Medications:
    • Vitamins
    • Fiber supplements
    • Nasal sprays
    • Cough syrup
    • Throat lozenges
    • Sleep aids
    • Nicotine gum
    • Certain prescription drugs
  • Dental health products:
    • Toothpaste
    • Dental floss
    • Dry mouth sprays
    • Mouthwash
  • Food:
    • Sugar replacement to sweeten beverages, add to cereals and baked goods
    • Instant coffee
    • Ketchup
    • Pancake syrup
    • Peanut butter
    • Pudding
    • Ice cream
    • Drink powder
    • BBQ sauce
    • Chewing gum
    • Candy
    • Jam
    • Chocolates
    • Sugar free mints

Xylitol is even found in small amounts in some veterinary pet products, such as in some toothpastes and mouthwashes. When a veterinary product is found to contain Xylitol, it is important to follow the prescribed dose and to keep the product our of your pet’s reach to avoid potential poisoning

Steps to Prevent Xylitol Poisoning

1.Check the product labels of items being brought into your home, watching for alternative names on the product list, including:

  • Birch sugar
  • E967
  • Meso-Xylitol
  • Xilitol
  • Xylit
  • Xylite
  • Xylo-pentane-1,2,3,4,5-pentol

2.When products are found to have Xylitol as an ingredient, make sure that they are put away so pets can’t get to them.

3.When Xylitol ingestion is caught early and the pet receives veterinary treatment right away, the prognosis for outcome is better. However, since even a small quantity of Xylitol can be deadly, it is important to advise clients that if they suspect their pet has ingested even a tiny amount of Xylitol that they seek veterinary help immediately.

4. Make sure that your children know to store Sugar Free gum, candies and chocolates or other items that contain Xylitol out of reach of their pets.  I know in my household sometimes wrappers with small amounts of food are left in reach of a pet that would like a taste. As well, gum packages and chewed gum can be spat out and left for a dog to consume. If children know the danger that these items can impose on their pet they are more likely to keep them out of their pet's reach.

To Your Pet's Good Health,

Dr. Barry



Mar 16, 2017 3:14:39 PM By Barry Miller poison, prevention, dogs, xylitol, General Information,

We love our puppies! However, every year large numbers of dogs end up out of the house or placed in shelters because of behavioral issues. 

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While many drugs and medications are safe for both human and dog  to use, the same does not apply to CATS. Unless specifically indicated, cats should never be given people or dog medications or supplements. According to the Pet Poison Hotline website, close to 50% of the calls they receive regarding toxic ingestions in pets involve human medications. 

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Mar 15, 2017 12:11:00 PM By Barry Miller poison, cats, General Information,

This month we celebrate National Puppy Day on March 23rd this is part 1 of a two part blog series celebrating the joy of new puppies. 

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Mar 1, 2017 11:48:27 AM By Barry Miller new dogs, children, training, introducing, Behavior,

Hip Dyslasia Information and Tips for Clients

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Jan 26, 2017 4:24:15 PM By Barry Miller hip, dysplasia, arthritis, Arthritis & Joint Health,

Dental disease can be a serious problem but simple steps to prevent gum disease can lead to a longer healthier life.

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Jan 26, 2017 3:04:54 PM By Barry Miller Dental, hygiene, disease, gum, Dental Health,

Many Parasites that our pets can carry we can get from our pets. 

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Jan 23, 2017 3:01:51 PM By Barry Miller Digestive Health,

As temperatures drop, we all try to keep warm. Well, guess what? Our pets do too! Even though many pets are covered in fur, they are not immune to the cold; in fact, pets shiver to show they are cold, just like people. 

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Dec 28, 2016 12:03:55 PM By Barry Miller Winter Safety, General Information,

Most dogs are generally full of life and interested in the world around them, and, like people, an active day will leave them tired. However, when a typically energetic and playful pet becomes sedentary and lethargic, the change in their behavior may be the first indication of illness or injury.

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Dec 28, 2016 11:26:10 AM By Barry Miller General Information,
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