One Sneaky Ingredient of Some Peanut Butters Can Poison Dogs

We often hear about what we should and shouldn't be giving our dogs to eat, but is peanut butter dangerous for dogs?

One day something seems to be good and the next day, bad for your dog. Chocolate is off limits along with many other sweets, but is peanut butter dangerous for dogs?

Animal hospitals in Las Vegas are urging dog owners to be particularly cautious around peanut butter. But why?

Xylitol: Peanut Butter's Danger to Dogs

Peanut butter can contain a substance called Xylitol. Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is used in some human food as a sugar substitute - which is particularly good for diabetics who are eating a low sugar diet. It isn't found in all peanut butter brands, but in a lot of them.

If Xylitol is consumed by a dog, it can cause a quick drop in their blood sugar level, diarrhea, seizures, and sometimes even death. This is why it is so important to avoid letting your dog eat food which contains Xylitol. Xylitol can also appear on the "ingredients" list as xylite, anhydroxylitol, d-xylitol, xylitylglucoside and 1,4-anhydro-d-xylitol.


peanut butter dangerous for dogs

It is important that dog owners are aware of the possible symptoms of Xylitol poisoning, so that they can react promptly and perhaps save their dog's life. Symptoms include:

  • Weakness or lethargy
  • Walking drunk
  • Depression
  • Acute collapse
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Racing heart rate
  • Trembling or tremoring
  • Jaundiced gums
  • Diarrhea
  • Black-tarry stool
  • Bruising
  • Clotting problems
  • Abnormal mentation

If you think that your dog has consumed something with Xylitol included, the first thing to do is try to stay calm. Look on the ingredients list to see the position of the Xylitol on the list. If the substance is in the top five ingredients of the list, the likelihood is that the amount will cause poisoning in your dog.

In the short term, animal hospitals in Las Vegas suggest rubbing corn syrup or maple syrup into your pet's gums for the quickest absorption of sugar to bring their blood sugar level up temporarily, but then take them to the hospital as quickly as possible.


peanut butter dangerous for dogs

Try to take the packet of the substance - peanut butter or otherwise - in with you to the animal hospital. The vet will then assess your dog and the treatment is as follows:

  • They will check the dog's blood sugar level and if they have consumed the food recently they might induce vomiting
  • If the blood sugar level is still low they might start an intravenous drip of dextrose (sugar) for 12 - 18 hours. You dog will require close monitoring and only be allowed home once it is able to maintain its own blood sugar levels
  • The vet will be closely monitoring your dog's liver enzymes, electrolytes and blood sugar levels
  • If your dog has consumed a large amount of Xylitol the vet might put them on liver protectants

Xylitol is found not only in peanut butter but also other "sugar-free" snacks and foods. It is important that dog owners are aware of this and know what to do if they think that their pet has consumed it. The quicker that you seek medical attention, the better the outcome. So, is peanut butter dangerous for dogs? It definitely depends!

This is a guest post by Linda Smit of Pet Health Animal Hospital

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This article was originally published February 23, 2018.

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