If you have a canine companion, chances are you’ve treated him to some sweet peanut butter treats on occasion, maybe you’ve even let him lick the jar when it’s empty or let them lick it right from the spoon. For the most part, peanut butter is a safe, tasty snack for your pup. However, some manufacturers have begun replacing sugar in their peanut butter with a cheaper artificial alternative: xylitol.
Xylitol can cause serious illness and even death if ingested by your dog. The effects set in rapidly, with vomiting appearing within half an hour. However, the full effect of symptoms may take as long as 12 hours to manifest in your pup.
Xylitol stimulates insulin production in dogs and can decimate their blood sugar in very little time, causing weakness and loss of coordination. Left untreated, dogs may suffer seizures or severe lethargy, including collapsing and loss of muscle strength. Large amounts of ingested xylitol can cause acute liver failure and death.
The danger of xylitol for your dog cannot be overstated, and unfortunately, it may be more present in your home than you think. Sugarless gum is a common culprit, as many dogs have been known to gnaw on a pack left on the coffee table or nightstand. If you purchase low- or sugar-free food items often, always check the label for xylitol and keep it safely out of your dog’s reach if it contains the sweetener.
Xylitol may be present in these common household items:
- Gum, candy, and mints
- Toothpaste, mouthwash, dental floss
- Peanut and other nut butters or spreads
- Butter or margarine-like spreads
- Vitamins, supplements, and oils
- Cookies, desserts, ice cream, or yogurt
- Flavored waters or sports drinks
If you suspect your dog has ingested even a tiny bit of a product containing xylitol, get her to the nearest vet or animal hospital as soon as possible. Keeping these harmful products away from your faithful pet is the first and best line of defense to keep your furry friend happy and healthy for years to come.