Most pet owners have heard about the dangers associated with feeding pet’s chocolate, onions and garlic but what about Peanut Butter? Today when you’re out shopping for peanut butter, be sure to read the label carefully. Why? Because Xylitol, a sugar alcohol used as a low-calorie sweetener is being added to all kinds of food and drinks. Today they are adding Xylitol to Peanut Butter. The problem is that Xylitol is toxic to pets. In addition to peanut butter, xylitol is also often added to candies, gum, mints, toothpaste, mouthwash, honey, jams, and syrups to name just a few.
Before you reach for the peanut butter to give your pet a treat – READ the LABEL CAREFULLY!
Just small amounts of xylitol can lead to a multitude of problems for pet owners. Adverse signs can show up within 10 minutes of ingestion. Symptoms may include weakness, lethargy, and loss of coordination, seizures, vomiting, and rapid breathing. In addition life-threatening hypoglycemia and liver failure are also potential consequences. Fortunately, the majority of dogs recover without incident with prompt therapy.
Recently certain specialty brands of peanuts and nut butter have started using Xylitol, which often is displayed on the label as “Sugar Alcohol.” Currently, Nuts ‘n More, Krush Nutrition and P-28 Foods all make peanut butter and nut-based spreads containing xylitol. Xylitol is considered 100 times more toxic to dogs than chocolate.
What Pet Owners Can Do?
If you suspect that your pet has eaten a xylitol-containing product, contact your veterinarian and/or the ASPCA Poison Helpline (800-213-6680) ASAP. With Xylitol ingestion, inducing vomiting can actually worsen your pet’s condition. This is because certain dogs may already be low in blood sugar or hypoglycemia. Inducing vomiting can make them worse!
How is Pet Xylitol Ingestion Treated?
Your veterinarian will access your dog’s condition, document levels of sugar [glucose] and potassium in the blood and treat your pet accordingly. In severe cases, hospitalization may be required. Intravenous fluids and dextrose administration, along with canine liver protectants and supportive care reverse the condition. The vast majority of dogs recover without incident.