Dog ate chocolate?

ask a vet

Xylitol in fruit toxic to dogs?

Species: Dog
Breed: Pug
Age: 8-11 years
Hello Dr. Marie,

I've recently become very aware of the dangers of xylitol with dogs. However, I'm confused about naturally occurring xylitol.

I've read that xylitol is present in several foods and veggies, including strawberries. Yet, per your list and others, strawberries are considered safe for dogs.

Would you mind clarifying this for me? Is naturally occurring xylitol different than the xylitol used in sweetening gum, etc...? My dog loves strawberries, but I want to make sure this is a healthy choice for him.

Thanks so much!
~Piper


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Interesting. I was not aware that there was xylitol in fruit. So, I did some research for you.

There are some fruits that naturally contain xylitol but the amount of xylitol in the fruit is miniscule. This study says that raspberries are one of the fruits with the highest amount of xylitol. They contain 400 ug (micograms) of xylitol per gram of raspberry. So, let's say a dog ate 1 cup of raspberries. 1 cup of raspberries is about 123 grams of raspberries. So, this would equate to 0.05 g of xylitol.

(To do this math I converted 400 ug to g which is 0.0004 g. Then, I multiplied 0.0004 x 123 to get 0.05 g.)

So, how much xylitol is toxic to dogs? Xylitol can cause low blood sugar when given at a dose of 0.2-0.4g/kg. So, let's say you have a 10kg (22 lb) dog. This means that 2-4 g of xylitol could cause low blood sugar.

Low blood sugar at this level is not likely to be fatal. Xylitol can cause severe liver damage (and death) at a dose of 1.6-2g/kg. So, that means that a 10kg dog would have to eat a minimum of 16g of xylitol to be fatal.

So, let's put this all in context. One piece of xylitol gum contains 1-2g of xylitol per piece. In our 10kg dog, as 2-4 grams could cause low blood sugar, this means that two pieces of gum could cause low blood sugar. As the fatal dose of xylitol for this dog is 16 g, then possibly 8 pieces could be fatal.

Now, let's go back to the raspberries. There are 0.05 g of xylitol in 1 cup of raspberries. This means that in order to eat enough raspberries to cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) a 10kg dog would have to eat 4-6 cups of raspberries. To eat enough rasberries to be fatal, that same dog would have to eat at least 32 cups of raspberries!

So, it's all about dosage. Many dog toothpastes contain xylitol and I often get asked why such a toxic chemical would be in a dog toothpaste. It is because the amount is tiny as compared to the toxic dose.

Thanks for such an interesting question!

---This question was asked in our Ask A Vet For Free section.---



Check out our dog age calculator and cat age calculator.

Want to receive pet coupons, vet advice and info on new pet products in your inbox?

* indicates required

We'll only send you great stuff, never spam. Unsubscribe any time.

Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Search for similar questions:

ask a vet

Popular questions...

Are bully sticks safe? My dog loves to chew on bully sticks. I think it's kind of gross that it is a... (18172 views)

What foods to give cats? Yesterday I adopted two male cats. I am unsure what to feed them. Their foster mum... (7147 views)

Vomiting and diarrhea every two weeks. I adopted my yorkiepoo from a local shelter in 12/2012. From that time until a few... (10408 views)

Diarrhea and pain. My dog Halo is about 14 months old, she's had diarrhea for the last few days. I've... (31635 views)

Is this a chest tumor? Hello. My active, normal weight and wonderful female Siamese began coughing... (10028 views)

Is diaphragmatic hernia causing problems? My 15 year old doggie, Pepper has been diagnosed with a diaphragmatic hernia & the... (5367 views)

Can a dog get lice? Can my dog get lice... (5229 views)

Heart medication questions. My dog’s name is Yoda. He is 16 years old. But for his heart, he is in good... (4629 views)

Cat has vomiting and diarrhea. Hi my cat is about one year old and we feed him and give him water everday but he... (12646 views)

Hamster hair loss. Hello, My daughters hamster keeps loosing big patches of his fur and also his eyes... (9881 views)

See all questions...

Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.