Health Alerts: Xylitol and Pedialyte

Pet Poison: Xylitol.
Is Pedialyte® Really Safe or Not?

Pet Poison: Xylitol

Xylitol is a sweetener used in a wide range of sugar-free products such as sugar-free gum and candy, power drinks, and diabetic products. Although xylitol is consumed by humans, it is not safe for pets, and according to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, xylitol has poisoned several hundred dogs.

Signs of xylitol poisoning in dogs include weakness, loss of consciousness, and seizures. Immediately after ingestion, a dog's blood sugar drops and the liver stops functioning. Usually, signs of poisoning occur within 30 minutes after ingestion, but some dogs do not develop symptoms for several hours.

If you think your pet has eaten a product with xylitol, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.

For more facts, check the section on Poisons on

Is Pedialyte® Really Safe or Not?

There are concerns about giving Pedialyte to a sick child because Pedialyte contains artificial sweeteners. Heads up for the concerned parent and guardian.

As of July 2000, all Pedialyte products, including flavored and freezer pops, exchanged the sugar-free chemical aspartame for the new kid on the block, sucralose found in Splenda®. Pedialyte now also contains the chemical sweetener acesulfame-K, plus artificial colors and artificial flavors.

Note: If you are concerned about your child's consumption of aspartame, please check the ingredient listing on the product's label to ensure you do not have the old Pedialyte formulation containing aspartame.

Needless to say, these chemical sugar substitutes can be harmful to a healthy human body, so the magnified, harmful effects they can have on a sick child under stress from a high fever, diarrhea and vomiting can make illness worse. Remember the story in my book Sweet Poison of four-year old Katrina Carradine? Unknowingly, her mother had been giving her daughter vitamins with aspartame, and the child suffered over six-weeks in a coma. Today at 15 years of age, Katrina has never fully recovered mentally from the harmful effects of aspartame and diet sweeteners.

Bottom-line, and to be on the safe-side, children do not need to be exposed to diet chemical sweeteners under any circumstances; through medications, in foods, drinks, gums, candies, or flavored waters. And there are over 10,000 products your children are exposed to that contain aspartame, sucralose and other chemical sweeteners on the market today - many not labeled as sugar-free.

Pedialyte is a combination of systemic carbohydrates and electrolytes, also labeled as oral rehydration salts, ORS-bicarbonates, and ORS-citrates. A carbohydrate and electrolytes combination is used to restore dehydration and the loss of too much water from the body occurring with severe diarrhea, particularly in babies and young children. Although this OTC medicine does not immediately stop diarrhea, it replaces water in the body, and replenishes important body salts, known as electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium. These electrolytes are typically lost from the body through diarrhea, and they prevent more serious problems occurring as a result of dehydration and high body temperatures. Some carbohydrate and electrolyte solutions may also be used after surgery when food intake has been stopped, or for the elderly with deficient diets.

Pedialyte is available without a prescription; however, your primary doctor may have special instructions on the proper use and dose for you or your child.

Some common brand names in the U.S. are: (all registered trademarked items)
* Infalyte
* Kao Lectrolyte
* Naturalyte
* Oralyte
* Pedialyte
* Pedialyte Freezer Pops
* Rehydralyte
* Resol
In Canada:
* Lytren
* Gastrolyte
* Pedialyte
* Rapolyte

Try this recipe for homemade Pedialyte to have available in case of unexpected illness:
1 quart purified or natural spring water
2-4 teaspoons raw, unprocessed sugar, or 1-2 teaspoons of powdered fruit sugar (fructose)
1 teaspoon Himalayan or Celtic sea salt

Boil water, add sugar (or fructose) and salt. Stir. Let cool.
Refrigerate what you do not use, but do not keep for more than 48 hours; make a new batch. Safe for pets, particularly puppies and rabbits.

Posted December 2006 | Permanent Link

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