Lily's Near Death Experience!
So as y’all may know, my dog Lily is notorious for being sneaky and getting her nose into places where it just doesn't belong!
Earlier this month my mom and I were in the living room when we said “Hey! It’s really quiet… Where’s Lily?…. LILY?!” It’s in the lingering silence after I call for her and I don’t hear the telltale sound of her running to the sound of her name, that I realize she is up to no good!
I rushed all over the house looking for any sign of her and I eventually found her in my brothers closet with her nose deep in a Christmas stocking sniffing and chomping at whatever was inside. Whatever she had found must've been good because I had to psychically pull her away to get her to stop eating at what I would soon to find out to be a candy cane.
At first I wasn't freaking out at the fact that she had taken a bite out of a candy cane. I had escorted her out of the room she had been hiding out in and was just laughing off her being so sneaky. My mom was the one who remembered about reading an article over the holidays about how Xylitol was in most candy canes.. and she started freaking out and was worried about Lily, asking me if I thought I should take her in to see our vet. I replied that I didn’t think she was in any real danger because she had not consumed a large quantity of the candy cane and I had thought that a little bit surely wouldn't cause any harm.
My mom kept insisting that she had a bad feeling and for me to call and talk to a vet and see what we should do. We eventually decided after talking to a vet tech that we should take her in asap to see if she's in any danger of xylitol poisoning.
At the vet they said the only sure way to tell if Lily had ingested Xylitol would be to check her blood sugar and then wait a few hours and check again to see if her blood sugar levels were going down. As we waited I was talking to our vet about Xylitol poisoning and the dangers it held to dogs. She informed me that any amount of xylitol in the body of a dog is very dangerous and that what happened is your dogs blood sugar would drop and there would be liver damage, seizures and hypoglycemia.
At this point we had gotten Lily’s blood sugar levels back and when we first came in they were 80 and within a couple of hours they had dropped to 67. This was a clear indication that the candy cane Lily did eat contained xylitol and she did have xylitol poisoning. Lily only ate a very small piece of candy cane. So this was a true shock and wake up call to me of how dangerous this can be. I mean my dogs get into everything and are constantly eating scraps of candy, food and whatever they can find under our couch! Our vet also told us that we were extremely lucky to have caught this so early because most cases they catch it too late when too much damage has been done. Honestly if it wasn’t for my mom pushing me to get her checked out than who knows what would've happened or how serious her symptoms would've gotten.
Luckily she just had to stay overnight on a glucose drip and was able to come home the next day! I really wanted to share this because it was a scary experience and a true wake up call that I need keep a better eye on my dog and make sure that I am more conscientious about what I am bringing into my house that my dog may accidentally ingest. I spend so much time concerned about ingredients in pet food that I haven’t really stopped to consider about the ingredients in my own food and treats.
So here is what I learned and what every pet owner needs to know too:
-Xylitol is more toxic to dogs than theobromine, which is found in Chocolate.
-No matter the amount of xylitol ingested it can cause serious health issues.
-If you think your dog has ingested xylitol contact your veterinarian immediately or Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680)… even if you are not 100% sure if what they ate contained xylitol. I assure you its safer than to be sorry.
-After ingesting xylitol your dog would typically develop symptoms within 30 mins. (I will say Lily didn’t show any of these symptoms since we caught it early so just because your dog doesn't show symptoms straight away does not mean they are in the clear)
-Symptoms include: Vomiting, lethargy, weakness, difficulty walking, collapse
-Xylitol is mainly found in sugar-free products, mainly sugar free gums!
-Don’t leave candy canes laying around
In an emergency here are some 24 hour veterinarian clinics:
50 Dennis Dr
Lexington, KY 40503
*Bluegrass Veterinary Specialists + Animal Emergency
1591 Winchester Rd # 106
Lexington, KY 40505
*I personally love BVS. They are amazing and take such great care and have a personable experience with their clients. This is the emergency hospital that took care of Charlie and helped him cross over the rainbow bridge. I will always hold a special place in my heart for the wonderful staff of BVS!
The veterinarian I use with my pets is:
Sheabel Veterinary Hospital
2568 Richmond Rd
Lexington, KY 40509
Dr. Michelle Jude is amazing!
Here are some additional links with info about Xylitol poisoning in dogs: