Why Some Types of Peanut Butter can be Harmful to Your Pup

Everybody knows that dogs love peanut butter! It’s a delicious treat for pups and humans alike and it can make it easier to convince your dog to eat their food or take their medication. Just like humans, some dogs can be allergic to peanuts. Recently, experts have found that some types of peanut butter can pose dangers to dogs even if they aren’t allergic to peanut butter. This danger comes from the inclusion of xylitol. Xylitol is a naturally occurring alcohol found in most plant material, including fruits and vegetables. Xylitol is often used as a natural sweetener and is not toxic to humans, but can be very toxic for dogs. In this post, we will examine why manufacturers choose to include xylitol in some form or another, the dangers of xylitol, and how to tell what type of peanut butter is dog-friendly. 

Sweet for Humans, Deadly for Dogs

As previously mentioned, Xylitol is commonly used as a natural sweetener in food products to avoid the use of excessive amounts of sugar. This is positive for humans as it can help people looking to avoid sugar enjoy sweet foods.  Peanut butter is one of these foods. Some companies use xylitol to sweeten their peanut butters to provide lower-calorie peanut butter options that still taste sweet. The use of xylitol as a low-calorie alternative to sugar in peanut butter products has been gradually increasing over the past few years. Some of the peanut butter brands that contain xylitol are Go Nuts Co., Krush Nutrition, Nuts ‘N More, and P28 Foods.  If you aren’t sure if a peanut butter brand contains xylitol, we always encourage you to check the ingredients just to be sure that the peanut butter is dog-friendly. This trend of adding xylitol to peanut butter is well known in the industry and you can tell if certain brands use xylitol or not with a simple Google search. 

Xylitol’s Effect on Dogs

First and foremost, xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause hypoglycemia, seizures, liver failure, and even death in dogs. This is because xylitol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream of dogs, resulting in a potent release of insulin from the pancreas. This rapid release of insulin causes a rapid and severe decrease in the level of blood sugar (hypoglycemia), an effect that occurs within 10-60 minutes of a dog eating xylitol. Untreated, this hypoglycemia can result in death.  A dose of as little as 50 milligrams per pound of body weight can cause hypoglycemia in dogs. Some of the symptoms of xylitol poisoning you should watch for are:

  • Vomiting
  • Lack of Coordination
  • Weakness
  • Depression/lethargy
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma

If you see any of these symptoms in your dog and suspect xylitol poisoning, get them to the vet immediately. 

Peanut butter is a wonderful reward for our pups, but, even if they aren’t allergic, make sure to give your pup peanut butter in moderation to make sure they stay happy and healthy.  Most brands of peanut butter do not contain xylitol and are alright to give your pup in moderation, but it’s important to always check the ingredients just in case. If you have any other questions about what kind of brand peanut butter to give your pet as a treat we always recommend that you contact your vet. 

If you think that your pet is experiencing xylitol poisoning, you can contact the pet poison help line at (855) 764-7661.

We wish you and your pets a happy and healthy new year from the Elliot’s House Team! 

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