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What is Toothpaste Poisoning?

The toxicity of this product has a rapid effect on canines. Considered safe for humans, xylitol, can cause life-threatening low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) within 10 to 15 minutes of ingestion. Eating a large quantity of toothpaste or other products such as baked goods or mint candy can cause liver necrosis (death of liver cells) and liver failure.

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that is used in many products such as chewable vitamins, sugar-free gum, and toothpaste. If your dog consumes xylitol, the toxic effect can produce severe complications that can lead to death. If you suspect your pet has consumed toothpaste, or any other product containing the natural sweetener xylitol, contact the veterinarian immediately.

Toothpaste Poisoning Average Cost

From 65 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$750

Symptoms of Toothpaste Poisoning in Dogs

Pet owners may benefit from the use of xylitol in their diets, or oral care. However, use of this product must be carefully watched around our canine family members. If your dog consumes toothpaste, you may see the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy lack of muscle control and coordination (ataxia)
  • Weakness
  • Malaise
  • Seizure
  • Collapse
  • Black tarry stool
  • Coma and eventually death

It's important to note, there have been cases where dogs (and other common house pets) have not shown visible symptoms until liver failure occurred.

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Causes of Toothpaste Poisoning in Dogs

The difference in the toxicity of xylitol between the human species and the canine species is quite remarkable. A human can ingest up to 130g/day of the sweetener with the effect of diarrhea at most, and no other abnormalities. If a dog consumes >0.1 gram/kg of xylitol, acute hypoglycemia can occur in less than half an hour. In canine, xylitol is almost completely absorbed into the blood extremely rapidly and thus results in a sudden drop in glucose levels. Further, severe complications can occur. The death of liver tissue leading to complete liver failure can result, which is thought to be caused by elevated liver enzymes and the fact that the xylitol depletes adenosine triphosphate, which is necessary for normal cellular function.

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Diagnosis of Toothpaste Poisoning in Dogs

While many dogs show immediate toxicity to the xylitol, some will not show signs until the liver has been damaged extensively.

After you've scheduled an appointment and arrived at the veterinary hospital, be sure to be prepared to relay any and all suspicions in great detail to the veterinarian. Did your pet ingest baked goods, sugar free gum or toothpaste? After verifying your concerns, the veterinarian will begin with a complete blood profile. She will find absolute hypoglycemia, confirming the diagnosis of xylitol poisoning. Other test results may show hypokalemia (low potassium) due to the insulin moving the potassium into the cell, and hypophosphatemia (phosphate deficiency).

There may be hyperbilirubinemia (abnormally high bilirubin in the blood), prolonged coagulation times (as a result of low blood platelets which is called thrombocytopenia), and evidence of gastrointestinal hemorrhaging.

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Treatment of Toothpaste Poisoning in Dogs

Whether or not your veterinarian will induce vomiting depends on the amount of xylitol ingested. If your dog is asymptomatic, vomiting will likely be induced. In either case, whether visible symptoms are present or not, your dog will be hospitalized in order to start intravenous therapy.

With the process of intravenous therapy, potassium, phosphorous, liver enzymes, blood coagulation, and bilirubin concentration will be verified every 24 hours for at least three days. Liver function will be checked carefully throughout your pet’s hospital stay. The blood glucose will need to be monitored closely, with a verification of the level by the veterinarian or vet technician every hour (sometimes two hours) for a total duration of twelve hours, until the level has been corrected.

Liver protectants, antioxidants, and vitamin E may be administered. Plasma and/or blood transfusions may be done if coagulopathy is present.

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Recovery of Toothpaste Poisoning in Dogs

Depending on the amount of xylitol consumed by your dog, the veterinarian may want to repeat the blood testing in 2 to 3 days after your dog’s release from the hospital, in order to evaluate the liver function. The prognosis can be good for xylitol poisoning in dogs; mild hypoglycemia will resolve in a few days with prompt treatment. If liver necrosis or failure has occurred the outcome is less favorable. Because the number of products which contain xylitol is constantly growing in day to day household food and personal care items, careful analysis of merchandise labels as well as diligent storage of food and oral care products is highly recommended.

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Toothpaste Poisoning Average Cost

From 65 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$750

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Toothpaste Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Pit Bull

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Ten Weeks

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Tied 💤 Collapses Muscle Stiffness Moaning Whilesleeping

What can i do to help her

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay, this platform is not set up for urgent emails. Puppies are very susceptible to parasites, intestinal infections, and infectious diseases. It would be best to have your pup seen by a veterinarian, as they will be able to examine him, see what might be gon on, and get treatment for him.

Oct. 10, 2020

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Miniature blue heeler

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One Year

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1 found helpful

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Noisy Breathing

Is my dog going to be ok

July 31, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, without seeing your dog or being able to examine them, I don't know if they will be okay. If you are concerned about their breathing, or they are having trouble breathing, it would be best to have them seen by a veterinarian so that they can be examined. I hope that your dog is okay.

July 31, 2020

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Sheprd mix

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5.5 months

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5 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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Tried To Vomit Now Normal

He got into Tom’s children’s toothpaste. Not sure how much he ate, I don’t think a lot. He dry heaved and tried to throw up but not much came out. Now he is acting pretty normal

July 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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5 Recommendations

Hello, Some toothpaste do contain xylitol that can cause your dog to have very low blood sugar. If your dog starts to act lethargic or continues to vomit, it would be best to see a vet. If he only ate a very small amount, you may not see any problems.

July 26, 2020

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Penny

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Mutt

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6 Years

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Fair severity

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4 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None Yet

My dog penny is about 6 or 7 years old, and I used a very small amount of toothpaste to clean her teeth. It’s been about 15 min now and she is acting fine. I don’t know if I should call a vet or wait it out. What should I do? I should’ve read about it before.

Aug. 10, 2018

Penny's Owner

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4 Recommendations

Human toothpaste contains high quantities of fluoride and some type of toothpaste also contain xylitol which may also cause a poisoning event; monitor Penny closely and visit your Veterinarian if you have any concerns or call the Pet Poison Helpline to calculate if the ingredients and amount consumed would be toxic. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 11, 2018

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hero

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Dachshund

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9 Years

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Moderate severity

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3 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting

My dog had smelly breath so I used a little bit of toothpaste and did not realise it was harmful to dogs,he has been sick a couple of times what foods should I give him and should I take him the vets?

June 23, 2018

hero's Owner

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3 Recommendations

It is very important to see if there is xylitol in the toothpaste as this may cause hypoglycemia and can be fatal as dogs are a hundred times more sensitive to xylitol than humans; if there is no xylitol in the toothpaste, you should try to encourage Hero to eat a bland diet of boiled chicken and rice as it isn’t irritating to the stomach. If he is lethargic, vomiting or has any other symptoms listed on this page you should visit an Emergency Veterinarian immediately. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

June 24, 2018

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Teddy bear

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Yorkshire Terrier

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6 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Weakness
Vomiting

My mom brushed my dogs teeth without knowing how bad it was for them and now he is very weak and he is vomiting I dont want anything to happen to him I love him sooooo much 😓

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Tofu

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Japanese Spitz

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4 Months

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Fair severity

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My 4 months Japanese spitz drank from our toilet bowl and I try to brush his teeth with small amount of Colgate salt and try to rinse his mouth after, should I be worried? What should I do?

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Cara

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Jack Russell Terrier

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2 Months

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None

My dogs breath smelt horrible and before I even thought of searching it up I put some of it in her mouth and now I’m really worried. It was Colgate toothpaste and I searched up the ingredients and it didn’t have xylitol

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Pumpkin

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Chihuahua

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4 Months

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Consumed Human Toothpaste

I gave my dog human toothpaste from a human brush he’s acting normal he’s sleeping on me and yes he’s breathing. I read the label and it said it contained sodium fluoride. I don’t know what might happened but I’m worried. He’s twitching a little when he breaths. I used crest toothpaste I need an answer ASAP before something happens. It’s probably been an hour and a half since it happened and I’m worried. He’s breathing normally now I don’t think he ate too much of it. He drank some water I don’t know if he’ll be fine since he’s acting normally right now.

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Daisy

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Mix

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1 Year

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

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My dogs ate some crest toothpaste, the active ingredients list doesn’t say xylitol, but I’m still worried. I gave them pumpkin and water, is there anything else I can do to help them? One is a 1 year old mix breed, the other is a French bulldog about 5 or 6 years old.

Toothpaste Poisoning Average Cost

From 65 quotes ranging from $500 - $3,000

Average Cost

$750

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