Your dog is mad for it, lick for lick, and loads of dog treats contain it. What is it? Ding ding ding: peanut butter! What’s not to love? According to recent reports, a little ingredient called xylitol. Read on for the lowdown on this seemingly innocuous component and the potentially deadly threats it poses.
Safe Peanut Butter for Dogs
Whether it’s right off the spoon or in frozen cubes, peanut butter is a great source of protein, as well as vitamins B and E. And we all know it’s great for keeping dogs busy when jammed into a KONG toy. Dog-safe peanut butter should be plain and unsweetened. In addition to natural grocery store brands, other great options include:
- Dogbutter by DOG for DOG (they donate to dogs in need with every purchase!)
- SmartBones Peanut Butter Chews
- Zuke’s Mini Peanut Butter Treats
- Peanut-Butter Filled Dog Bones (seriously, so easy)
Watch Out for Xylitol
Some sugar-free peanut butters now use xylitol as a sweetener, which is bad news for dogs. Xylitol is a safe alternative to sugar for diabetics and a popular sugar alternative. So what’s the problem? Even in small quantities, xylitol can be lethal to dogs.
Why Is Xylitol Bad For Dogs?
Dr. Langlois, medical director of Pet Pantry in Lancaster, says that “both liver damage as well as dangerous drops in a dog’s blood sugar level” occur when a dog consumes xylitol. He notes three peanut butter brands in particular that include xylitol in their process: Nuts ‘n More, P28, and Nutty By Nature.
The ASCPA shared their peer reviewed findings on xylitol consumption in canines, which can be viewed here. The takeaway? Treatment should be immediately sought in any instance in which a dog may have consumed >0.1/kg of xylitol. Basically, even a trace amount of xylitol consumption in dogs merits an immediate visit to the vet.
Know Your Labels
Always read the ingredients of the jar before you treat your faithful buddy. Alternative names xylitol might go by include:
- Birch Sugar, E967
- Sucre de Bouleau
Watch for These Symptoms
Signs of xylitol toxicity include:
- loss of motor control
It’s scary stuff, but easily preventable as long as you read labels carefully. For a 100% safe way to get your dog his fix, try Dogbutter or the other options listed above, or stuff that Kong with this dog-safe mix.
The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional veterinary help.
Top image via Flickr CC/DagNYG