It’s been a rough week for Bailey. The 11-year old border collie spent part of her week at the veterinarian’s office and the emergency veterinarian after deciding to eat a bottle of melatonin.
It wasn’t the melatonin that made her sick, it was xylitol, the first ingredient listed on the bottle.
“We had no idea, looking at the ingredients, that xylitol would even matter,” said Bailey’s mom, Judi Bailey.
Xylitol is safe for human consumption but can be deadly for dogs and cats. Bailey’s family believes she ate a bunch of it.
“My son and my daughter, we were all there [at the vet],” Judi Bailey said. “We thought this was the end for her.”
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol used as a sweetener ingredient, said Dr. Jerald Foote. He teaches food safety and micronutrients at Metro State University of Denver. He said the ingredient can be found in a litany of common foods.
“An ingredient in lower calorie candies or snacks, gum, some toothpaste, and usually diabetic candy,” Foote listed. “Sometimes chewy supplements like multi-vitamins… some gums, like gummy candies even.”
Veterinarians warn that xylitol can lead to a drop in the pet's blood sugar and can cause tremors, seizures, or even death. Judi Bailey had never heard of xylitol before her dog got into it.
“Everyone, it seems, is aware of chocolate, that's common,” she said. “But xylitol – who knew that was in so many products?”
Bailey is home recovering, but her vet says she will continue to be monitored for other side effects.
For now, Bailey’s family is checking labels and sharing the dog’s story to warn other families.
“I want people to be aware like I wasn't,” said Judi Bailey. “So that if this does happen to them, they can take the necessary actions and not lose their pet.”