Peanut butter has been a favorite treat for dogs for decades, but recently some brands that contain xylitol have appeared on the market. Xylitol is toxic to dogs and can even cause death. Please read the ingredient panel carefully before buying peanut butter if there is any chance your dog will get into it or someone might give it as a treat.
Xylitol is a natural sweetener that is common in, among other things, chewing gum, baked goods, mouthwash, pharmaceuticals and toothpaste for humans, so be careful to look for it in other items too. While xylitol appears to be perfectly safe for people, it is extremely dangerous for dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure or even death in dogs. Symptoms of xylitol toxicity develop rapidly, usually within 15-30 minutes of consumption. Signs of hypoglycemia may include any or all of the following:
- Incoordination or difficulty walking or standing (walking as if drunk)
- Depression or lethargy
In severe cases, the dog may develop seizures or liver failure. Dogs that develop liver failure from xylitol poisoning often show signs of hypoglycemia first.
Not as much is known about the tolerance that cats have for xylitol, but to be on the safe side, cats should not consume xylitol.
Please be aware that xylitol may be in peanut butter and be sure to read the ingredient list carefully because even a small amount can have serious consequences for your pet. In fact, when giving your pet a treat, it is wise to read all food labels carefully as xylitol or other harmful substances may be added.
For more information on xylitol toxicity, please visit our website at http://www.ahna.net/blog/xylitol-toxicity