The Dangers of Xylitol

Rose Dybel is an employee of From Wags to Whiskers. She sent me this email. It is an important message to all pet owners.

 Minpin Ted and Rose

Last night I came home from playing tennis and discovered three Orbit gum wrappers torn on the floor.  My 14 lb. min pin, Ted, got into my husband’s computer bag and had eaten the 3 pieces of gum.  I had heard about the dangers of xylitol to dogs and knew it was an ingredient in the sugar free gum that my husband and I chew, i.e. it is in Orbit and Trident gum, etc.

I didn’t really think that 3 pieces of gum could hurt my dog but I immediately took him to the Blue Pearl emergency room just in case, especially considering how small Ted is.  To my horror, not only could 3 pieces of gum containing xylitol have hurt Ted, it could have killed him!!  I was informed by the ASPCA’s animal poison control that if it had been Trident gum, he WOULD have died (astonishingly, there is over 100-1000 times more xylitol in Trident brand gum vs the Orbit gum Ted ingested).  As it turns out, the Orbit was toxic enough and the vet had to induce him to vomit, which was traumatic enough for him, but thankfully no damage had been done to his liver.

I wanted to share this story with you in case you wanted to pass the info to your customers.  For those who don’t know about xylitol, it is a sugar substitute that is being used more and more in foods, especially to accommodate the increasing numbers of people diagnosed with diabetes.  It is now found in some kinds of sugar free gum, candy, peanut butter, jello, no-sugar baked goods, and even in toothpaste!  It is 100 times more toxic to dogs than chocolate, and it does not take much of it to be ingested to cause hypoglycemia, liver failure and ultimately death.   It is supposedly safe for humans and cats, but obviously VERY toxic to dogs.

If this information can help just one dog owner, it is worth it to pass it on.”


Many Miles ~ Kids & Dogs

I have walked thousands of miles with dogs over the last eleven years. Most walks have been uneventful and very enjoyable. But there have been times that a neighbor’s unleashed dog or a wandering cat has added a little excitement; a sudden cloud burst has made some of the miles quite unpleasant; on several occasions, uneven pavement has sent me tumbling to the ground–but I never let go of the leash!

Long experience has made me cautious of some situations. My primary concern is for the dog and I will avoid potential problems–crossing the street or turning a corner.

Some dogs, especially small ones, do not enjoy being pet by children. Kids are unpredictable; they move suddenly, they can be loud in their excitement and they can try to hug the animal–a potentially dangerous situation. When I can’t avoid an encounter, I tell the adult with the child that the dog is not mine and I do not know how the dog will behave. Most understand and agree it is best the child leave the dog alone.

I have learned that many people never teach their children to be cautious around a strange dog and how best to approach them. I wrote an article, “Lasting Impressions ~ Dog and Child Introductions,” for Pet Tails Magazine describing some kid encounters from my miles on  the road and how to make safe introductions.



Having been in business since 2004, many of the animals that I started caring for as puppies, kittens and young animals are now grey, slow and no longer see or hear very well. A large number of them have also passed away.

I was introduced to Alfred and Abby, a Cocker Spaniel and Black Lab, respectively, back in 2006. During the late part of 2013, we said good-bye to Alfred; just a few months later, we were suddenly forced to say good-bye to Abby.

Their mom, Misty Goldman, shared her story of Alfred’s life with her in Pet Tails Magazine. Below she describes her life with Abby.

As pet sitters we often come to love your animals almost as much as you do. In addition to a cat and a dog that share my bed at night, I feel I have dozens of other cats and dogs that are also mine — they just don’t live with me. Over the years I started to take pictures of all “my animals” and use them as my computer’s screen saver. The picture that accompanies Misty’s article is one I took during the very last set of visits I made to Abby last May. I never imagined it would be my last picture of her.


Fabulous Abby the Labby
2002 – 2014

By Misty Goldman


You took the sun with you when you left us.  It rained for days after we said good-bye and even when the rain stopped, the sky stayed a cold slate gray that reflected back the emptiness in our hearts.  It’s such a struggle to write these words, to acknowledge that you’re gone, to accept the void but I have to let you go.

You were such a beauty in your shiny black fur.  Attitude and stubbornness just like a teenager.  You had an angel’s face and a devils mind.  Your mischievous streak was legendary.  From digested checks, shoes and couches, nothing was safe from your jaws as your stealthy 90 lb body would tip-toe behind me.  On our first meeting you sent me home with only one shoe, a clear message that I was treading on your territory.  But I came back the next day and the next and the day after that.  You lost interest in my shoes and you became my shadow, my buddy, my clean-up crew.  Crumbs falling to the floor never had a chance.  A lover of vegetables and the nemesis of toilet paper, you probably thought Abby was your last name since it was frequently preceded by words that can’t be printed here.

Friends and dog people always offered the same advice; “…don’t worry, Labs calm down after about five years”.  Ha!  You were not a dog to be categorized!  I think you were seven years old when you stole the sandwich from that poor guy walking down the street in front of our house.  Nine or maybe 10 when you ran away to the school and got beat up by the neighborhood dog bullies.  And the toilet paper caper went on every chance you got for 12 years!  I’m so glad you defied the stereotypes.  I’m so thankful that you were Abby.

I can still see you there, rolling in the grass with pure joy on your face.  You would always stay just out of sight.  Always seeing me but making me look to find you.  That vision of our happy, loveable pup is all we have left of you now.  I look at that patch of grass everyday and it lifts my spirits.  It made you blissfully happy even when you were in pain.  Now your pain is gone and with it our hearts but the grass is still green so we sit there in your favorite spot, missing you but smiling.  I smile because I bet that you can still see me, even though I can’t see you.

You died just like you lived, on your terms.  It was Abby’s world and the sun and the moon and the stars would bend to your will.  And so would I…every time.  I miss you shadow.