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Why I Don’t Use Xylitol: The Sweetener That’s Not Going to the Dogs!

Why I don’t use Xylitol | The Sweetener That’s Not Going to the Dogs
Bob, retired racing greyhound, snoopervision expert & lead taste tester at La Femme Nikketo.
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Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol that has become popular due to its low glycemic index, though not as low as other options. It also doesn’t have any after-taste or have the propensity to crystalize like erythritol. So, on the surface it seems like a great product to use. But I wanted to briefly write about why I don’t use Xylitol as it may be important to you as well.

First, like erythritol, xylitol is a sugar alcohol that’s almost as sweet as sugar. With only a fraction of the calories, it’s sourced from birch or plant fibers and refined into a granulated sweetener. But unlike erythritol, however, it’s prone to causing digestive issues, and for those affected by this, I mean digestive upset, like an OMG what have I done to deserve this kind of intense gut reaction.

Enough said. Also, when used in small amounts, it has a minor impact on blood sugar and insulin levels. However, if you’re using it as the primary sweetener in what you are baking and you (or those consuming it) have issues with insulin resistance, you may find that it will impact your glucose and insulin levels.

But the bottom line for me is that it is absolutely toxic to dogs. Big dogs, small dogs. it doesn't take that much for them to receive a toxic dose.

A tiny amount can kill a dog and the jury is still out if it has a similar impact on cats. What happens is when a dog ingests a product containing xylitol it can cause severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), as well as, the sudden onset of liver failure and this can be fatal.

Xylitol is dangerous to dogs

It’s unknown if cats could have the same dangerous reaction. Although, it’s true that cats are less likely to chew on foods that are sweet. Even still, if someone has the rare cat that does, it could be deadly.

If a pet gets xylitol poisoning, they need “fast and aggressive” treatment by a vet. Symptoms develop within 15 to 30 minutes. Symptoms can include many terrible and scary things to witness your beloved furry family member go through.

The late Pistol, retired racing greyhound, buttercream quality control snoopervisor

So, with that, that is why I don’t use Xylitol and why I don’t have any xylitol in my house. While my previous greyhound, Pistol was more discerning. Therefore, he was less likely to eat something off the floor if it fell. My current greyhound Bob, is the opposite. That said, the gentleman though he
was, Pistol loved his buttercream! Now Bob, he would push you completely out of the way with little regard for your ability to stay standing if he sees something has fallen to the floor that he likes.

And he likes pretty much anything except for leafy greens. Moreover, even if it is a leafy green, he would charge at top speed to inspect said green that has fallen on the floor. He needed to be sure, just in case there is something amazing underneath. For instance, items like raw meat, yogurt, whipped cream, even a slice of cucumber could be hiding. I’ve become practiced at moving out of the way, while staying in place with Bob in the house 🙂

Bob the Greyhound eats all the yogurt
Bob, the retired racing greyhound, ensures all yogurt tubs are cleaned before being placed in recycling

Last PSA on the xylitol issue is a reminder to read ingredients. For those that have a nut allergic family member, you already are used to this. So, you know to this anyway. Some sweeteners are combinations of each other, like monk fruit and erythritol. You can also make your own combinations, like my brown sugar recipes. Before you buy one that you are less familiar with, review the ingredients so you know it’s safe for all your family members.

For more information on Xylitol and pets go to and to learn more.

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Welcome! I'm Nikkey Elizabeth.

Hi! My name is Nikkey Elizabeth and this me, after cutting down raspberry canes in my snow shoes. La Femme Nikketo is a combination of two dreams, making delicious sugar-free products that you’d never guess where sugar-free and transforming the farm my husband and I have, The Farm in Glenville, into a working farm where we grow what we make. Together these sugar-free dreams offer boutique farm-to-table preserves and confections, all made here on our farm in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

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Where are you located?

Our farm is located in Glenville, Nova Scotia. It’s a little hamlet between Mabou and Inverness on the island of Cape Breton.


My Jam looks separated, what do I do?

Our sugar-free jams are natural products. Because we are sugar-free and use all-natural products, from time to time ‘fruit float’ can happen to fruit like strawberry or rhubarb during the canning process leaving pulp at the top and jelly on the bottom. If this occurred with your jam, don’t worry, it’s just as delicious as all our other jams. When this happens, we encourage our customers to dig in and mix it up!!!


What does it mean you’re sold out for the season?

We are a farm-to-table business, where we believe strongly in growing a large proportion of what we make. Sometimes, if there are other local growers that have supplies beyond our own, we may top-up our fruit or berry inventory (this is especially true with Blueberries as our bushes are young and our neighbour has acres of stunning wild blueberries!). However, for the most part, we grow what we make and when we run out, that’s it until next year. Every year our capacity grows so we hope to run out a little later each year.


I just bought from you at a market, will those items be on your website?

For the most part, yes, but not yet, or soon. If you are reading this and we are still in a growing season, I usually am so busy farming, making, and selling at my local farmer’s markets that I don’t have a chance to update my website. However, once the farmers markets at the end of Thanksgiving Weekend (That’s the second weekend of October here in Canada), I usually put aside time to update the website with all the current products. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, I post when that happens.


Why don’t you use the same sweetener in all your products?

Sometimes I feel that by producing sugar-free goods, you have to be part magician, chemist, and explorer. There are so many sugar-free sweeteners out there and not one of them behaves exactly like sugar. Each of them has its positive and negative qualities depending on the application. For instance, I use a lot of allulose, not never in meringue, because it loves water too much, so you could back that meringue for hours and it would still be sticky.


Are there sweeteners you don’t use in your products?

Yes, there are a few. I don’t use artificial sweeteners at all. Next, I’m not a fan of stevia because of the after taste so I don’t use that either. Also, I don’t use xylitol as it’s toxic to dogs. I love dogs and have an adorable retired racing greyhound myself who is an expert at catching what falls on the floor before anyone can get to it first — he’s that fast. As such, if I wouldn’t have any food with xylitol in my house, just in case it could fall on the floor and could be consumed by my super-fast houndie, I won’t put in my products just in case for your puppies too. Finally, I don’t use products like maltitol or mannitol, as they are notorious for upsetting the stomach.

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