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Xylitol: Sweet for Humans but Not For Your Pooch


Sugar can be quite the enemy in most circumstances because of the effect it has on the human system. Once it is in the mouth it gets converted to acids that can easily erode tooth enamel thus causing cavities. It also affects diabetic individuals.

One of the substitutes that have been discovered and is being used as a sweetening alternative is xylitol. It is an alcohol that is found naturally in most plants including fruits and vegetables. It is however extracted from birch wood for medicinal purposes.


It is used as a sugar substitute in mints, candies, and chewing gum that is sugar-free. Xylitol tastes sweet but does not get converted to acids in the mouth. This means that there is no risk of tooth decay with any of its products.  

Pharmaceutical products like throat lozenges and chewable vitamin tablets may have some xylitol in them. It acts against bacteria in saliva that cause decay. That is how it reduces tooth decay. It has also been found to reduce the occurrence of middle ear infections (otitis media) in children. This can be achieved just by using mints and chewing gum containing xylitol.

Sugar is used in homes for cooking different foods, sweetening beverages, and baking. Xylitol can be used to replace sugar in all these instances like baking even at home since it is safe to use at home.

Xylitol also occurs naturally in the human body after being produced from some food sources. It may be in small amounts of about five to 10 grams but that still makes it a normal part of the human system meaning the use of xylitol does not mean that you are adding foreign items to your body.

Due to its sweet taste and health benefits xylitol is very easy to consume as compared to other healthy supplements that may not be as appealing to taste buds. It can be taken in different forms like chewing gum or candies depending on your preference.


Xylitol is toxic to dogs. It can cause hypoglycemia and large amounts can lead to liver damage. Be sure to not feed candies or sweets containing xylitol to your dog. If it occurs make sure that you take your dog to a vet as soon as possible.

Side effects

An excessive amount ingested by a human being can lead to diarrhea and a stomach upset so be careful to use the recommended amount.

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