I can understand that giving candies or sweets to a cat or dog can rot their teeth.

Is it ok for me to feed my dog or cat candies with sugar substitutes like Xylitol, or artificial sweeteners?

  • 2
    Is there a reason why you would want to feed them candy?
    – Taryn
    Commented Oct 19, 2013 at 16:41
  • 3
    I am looking for the link to the study that found sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose are toxic at many orders of magnitude less amount in dogs. It is really not a good idea for them to eat sugar free candy or any candy for that matter. Dogs and cats can't produce insulin as well and don't have as dynamic a digestive system as we have. Processed sugars aren't very good for them either, but then they aren't terribly good for humans either in large amounts. Commented Oct 21, 2013 at 2:17
  • @maple_shaft Correct me if I'm wrong here, but isn't it a bad idea to feed most pets anything other than healthy pet food you get from the store? I mean, I know you can feed rabbits lettuce and things like that but... Isn't the general advice "ask what they eat when you get them at the pet store, and then don't try to feed them random other things"?
    – WendiKidd
    Commented Oct 21, 2013 at 2:28
  • @wend not everyone buys pets from a pet store and many people come on the internet for information. A glance at the number on poisoning for house pets can be surprising, as many household things can cause poisoning and people are not aware. To provide generic answers like you've suggested kinda defeats the whole purpose of having a site like this at all.. anyone can ask their local pet store for advice
    – user6796
    Commented Oct 21, 2013 at 2:32
  • @Skippy I didn't mean that this question didn't have relevance. I'm sure there will be people who will wonder this, and will find a useful answer here. I was just asking maple shaft (since there seemed to be good info in that comment) if it was a good idea to ever feed your pet something not specifically produced for them. I in fact would see the use of a generic question on this site "Should I ever feed my [insert pet] anything other than [insert pet store food]?" and seeing if for some animals it was ok, but for others not.
    – WendiKidd
    Commented Oct 21, 2013 at 2:41

1 Answer 1


Products containing Xylitol are potentially lethal if fed to pets.

Xylitol, an artificial sweetener, is present in many products, such as candy, sugar-free chewing gums, toothpaste and baked goods. Ingestion of these foods by dogs results in a significant, and often sustained, insulin-mediated hypoglycemic crisis (Cope, 2004). 1

Xylitol is metabolized differently by dogs and cats than humans.

  • In dogs, Xylitol cause the dog's pancreas to release much larger amounts of insulin; this overproduction of insulin can lead to hypoglycaemia, and possibly resulting in coma and death.

  • The effects of ingesting candies or products with Xylitol are seen fairly quickly (within 30 minutes) and are the signs consistent with hypoglycemia. Trembling and shaking, weakness, lethargy, vomiting, and possible loss of consciousness.

  • If your pet has ingested such food products, induced vomiting is recommended and urgent veterinary help should be sought.

  • An important note for cats: The same effect can be seen in cats, however less cases of such poisoning are seen due to cats being more fussy about what they eat than dogs.


  • Some food toxic for pets, Kovalkovičová, et al: Interdisciplinary Toxicology, Slovak Toxicology Society SETOX & Institute of Experimental Pharmacology and Toxicology, Slovak Academy of Sciences (1)

  • Pima Pet Clinic TucsonVeterinaryHospital.com

  • Just a quick note - Apparently its also now sold under the name "birch sugar" or "Wood Sugar" According to Snopes.
    – Journeyman Geek
    Commented Sep 12, 2021 at 13:13

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