As a pet father or mother, you’re most likely very accustomed to the toxicity of the synthetic sweetener xylitol. But what about different synthetic sweeteners, like sorbitol? Are all synthetic sweeteners toxic to pets, or is sorbitol protected for cats?

About Sorbitol And Cats

Sorbitol is a plant-based carbohydrate (sugar alcohol) that’s added to many meals and medicines as a sweetener. Although sorbitol is of course produced in crops, it may also be artificially created via a chemical response with glucose, which is the way in which that almost all sorbitol is produced from corn syrup.

It’s thought to have about 60% of the sweetening exercise of sucrose and likewise incorporates a couple of third fewer energy than sucrose, making it helpful for low-calorie ‘diet’ alternate options. Because the human physique absorbs sucrose very slowly, it makes a superb sugar substitute to be used in diabetic meals.

Cats don’t have a candy style receptor, so that they’re unable to detect the sweetness of sorbitol. However, it’s nonetheless recurrently current in issues that cats devour, whether or not that is human meals, cat meals, and even pet food. Sorbitol is usually added to those issues for its food-preserving qualities, or as an anti-caking agent.

Like people, cats are thought to digest some sorbitol, however not all of it. This signifies that extra sorbitol strikes into the big gut, the place it’s fermented by micro organism. In small quantities, that is superb, however in bigger quantities, it could actually trigger stomach ache and fuel, quick intestine motility, and osmotic diarrhea. ‘Osmotic diarrhea’ happens as a result of the undigested sorbitol attracts water into the big gut, which implies it could actually additionally contribute to dehydration.

Where You Might Find Sorbitol?

Sorbitol is usually added to medicines in addition to to meals and drinks for human and pet consumption.

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As a lower-calorie various to sugar, sorbitol is usually current in low-cal, keto, and weight loss program human meals choices. Foods created for individuals with diabetes can also include sorbitol as it’s absorbed much less rapidly and causes much less of an increase in blood sugar ranges than glucose sugars. Whilst sorbitol will be present in an enormous vary of merchandise, it’s most prevalent in baked items, the place it makes an awesome sugar substitute.

Sorbitol doesn’t contribute to cavity formation, which means it’s a typical sweetener for sugar-free toothpaste and chewing gum. In reality, sorbitol can be utilized in pet toothpastes, so you will have already given it to your cat with out realising! It can also be present in pet meals, as it could actually assist with product stability.

Sorbitol can be discovered naturally in fruits resembling apples, avocados, cherries, apricots, and plums.

Is Sorbitol Safe For Cats?

At regular doses, it seems that sorbitol is protected for cats.

Current proof means that, at regular doses, sorbitol is protected for cats. It’s present in some cat treats and cat toothpastes and, based on the ASPCA, in small quantities it should not have any impact. After all, we all know that apples and varied different fruits are protected for cats to eat, so it is sensible that the pure sugars in these fruits usually are not poisonous to cats.

In bigger doses, nevertheless, some uncomfortable side effects of consuming sorbitol could be observed. The uncomfortable side effects of sorbitol primarily impact the digestive system. Whilst these embrace fuel, stomach cramps, and diarrhea, they’re typically gentle.

In reality, many vets use small quantities of sorbitol medicinally – sorbitol’s laxative impact can assist stop absorption of poisons which were eaten and is usually used alongside activated charcoal as a part of an ‘oral decontamination protocol’ after poisoning. It may also be utilized in some circumstances of constipation.

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In massive portions, it’s possible sorbitol’s results could be extra extreme. If your cat has eaten a sorbitol-containing product it’s at all times greatest to verify together with your veterinarian or animal poison management to get the perfect recommendation to your cat.

It’s essential to notice that not all sweeteners are protected for cats. Xylitol is a really comparable synthetic sweetener that’s extraordinarily poisonous to cats and causes hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and liver failure, each of which will be deadly. Xylitol is usually discovered alongside sorbitol in sugar-free gum, so double-check the elements in case your cat has ingested chewing gum!

Also Read: Plants Poisonous to Cats: Toxic Plants to Avoid

Effects Of Sorbitol For Cats

At extreme doses or if given to delicate cats, sorbitol can have dangerous results on cats, together with digestive irritation and upset.

In small doses, resembling these present in toothpastes, it’s unlikely that sorbitol may have any impact in your cat. In bigger doses, or for many who are very delicate, sorbitol may trigger intestine results resembling extreme fuel, stomach ache, and diarrhea. It additionally sometimes causes vomiting.


Sorbitol isn’t poisonous to cats like xylitol is, and will be safely consumed in small quantities. However, sorbitol ingestion in bigger quantities may cause abdomen upset, and it’s not identified how a really massive dose would have an effect on a cat. If you discover your cat has eaten one thing containing a great amount of sorbitol it’s greatest to contact your vet for recommendation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is sorbitol protected for pets?

At frequent doses and people utilized in experiments, sorbitol has been demonstrated to be non-toxic for pets. However, it’s a cathartic and might trigger diarrhea, and in bigger doses may cause vomiting, stomach ache, and dehydration. These normally go on their very own and don’t normally want veterinary intervention except extreme.

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What sweeteners are poisonous to cats?

Is sorbitol dangerous for the liver?

There’s no proof that sorbitol causes liver issues (Or different circumstances of sorbitol poisoning in cats) and it’s been categorised as protected for human consumption by the  FDA in addition to different comparable businesses worldwide.


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