Holiday (and everyday) hazards: Xylitol Toxicity- read your labels!

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol commonly used as a sweetener that is apparently non-toxic to humans, but quite toxic to dogs and other animals that metabolize it differently. Found in more and more food products that our pooch friends can't seem to keep their lips off, the most recent concern is that it is showing up in more peanut butter brands. Peanut butter is commonly fed to dogs in homemade treats, slathered on dog toys and used to more easily get pills down. Other sources of Xylitol are toothpastes, gums, mints, and baked goods such as cookies and muffins especially marketed to diabetics as low sugar.

Most everyone knows to keep their dogs out of the chocolate treats this time of year, and hopefully Xylitol has become well-known as a hazard as well. Poor dogs—they can't keep their mouths off foods.

Don't think the cats are too clever for harm, they just have different preferences—string, ribbon and tinsel (why??) These can become lodged in their intestines and require emergency surgery to remove.

Both dogs and cats can get into the toxic plants—holiday or otherwise. Watch out for poinsettias, lilies, and other seasonal lovelies.

Here is a recent article on holiday safety for our beasts: