A dog owner has come forward after something truly devastating happened to her family this holiday season. Harleigh’s owner, Darla Martinez, innocently bought sugar-free candy canes for her family.

Martinez told 12 News: “Somehow I feel like I failed her by leaving candy canes on the table.”

video source/News12

Like many sugar-free foods, the candy canes contained Xylitol, which is potentially lethal to dogs. The hazardous ingredient is often found in gum and peanut butter as well! In fact, approximately 6,000 dogs are poisoned by Xylitol every year.

The scariest part: once Xylitol is in their system, it is nearly impossible to treat. After ingesting the foods, dogs can become hypoglycemic and are in danger of going into acute liver failure.

Shockingly, there are over 700 food products on the market that contain Xylitol including mints, candy, and certain brands of peanut butter.

If you suspect your dog ingested food that contains Xylitol, head to your veterinarian immediately. Xylitol poisoning symptoms can include:

  • Weakness or lethargy
  • Stumbling
  • Depression
  • Collapsing
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Tremors
  • Yellow gums
  • Diarrhea
  • Black-tarry stools

If you suspect your dog has ingested food containing Xylitol, do NOT attempt to induce vomiting. We also suggest you do not wait for symptoms to appear. Your vet will know what to do! Contact him/her immediately so they can perform bloodwork and administer IV fluids. The faster your dog is treated, the better his odds.

While we do understand many households prefer sugar-free food options, consider the safety of your pet first. Keep all dangerous items safely locked away.


*Dog in feature image is not Harleigh