Over the last few years, we have talked relatively often about the sweetener known as xylitol. And now it seems to have a new name – birch sugar. Then again, it’s not so much a new name, as almost a rebranding of sorts.
In October 2021, a report from the Veterinarian Medicine Department of Colorado State University revealed that if you see an ingredient on a product that says either birch sugar or birch sap, it is actually the exact same thing as xylitol. Xylitol can be found in everything from peanut butter and almond butter to ice cream and chewing gums.
And while we have long been on the hunt to make sure that xylitol isn’t in anything we give to our dogs or in any ingredients we may use to create treats for them, we have definitely not been on the look out for birch sugar or birch sap. What led us to this discovery to begin with? It was all thanks to an Instagram post from The Seattle Barkery, which is a graphic that reads,
"Xylitol is now being labeled as birch sugar. New name, still toxic to dogs."
From birch sugar to xylitol, it is all toxic to dogs
It seems that the term birch sugar is starting to pop up more and more, which means pet owners need to be aware that this “sugar” is actually bad for our dogs. In fact, xylitol is highly poisonous when it comes to our pups, while also being hazardous to other pets, including ferrets and cats.
So what should you be on the lookout for when it comes to a possible ingestion of xylitol (birch sugar/birch sap)? According to the CSU post,
"Signs of xylitol toxicity include vomiting, weakness, collapse, seizures, or uncoordinated gait. When a product containing xylitol is consumed by a dog, it is rapidly absorbed, causing insulin to be released from the pancreas and blood glucose levels can drop very low."
If you see any of these signs or know for a fact that your pup has ingested a product containing this ingredient, you will want to immediately seek care from a veterinarian. And if you see your dog chewing on sugar free gum, but don’t see symptoms, it is highly recommended to take them to the vet so that they can be forced to vomit up any of the gum with xylitol. They will then be monitored for issues, including liver failure.
Knowing what can be a problem is a massive step toward protecting our dogs. And knowing that xylitol is also being branded as birch sugar or birch sap means that we can be more proactive when it comes to being on the lookout for things to avoid.
Did you know that birch sugar is the same thing as xylitol? Have you noticed products showing up with this ingredient in the list? We want to know.