Warnings about peanut butter with xylitol have been circulating on various websites and social media posts recently. We checked to see what peanut butters contained xylitol and found that most brands do not contain xylitol. Five brands that do contain it are: Go Nuts, Co.; Hank’s Protein Plus Peanut Butter; Krush Nutrition; Nuts ‘N More; and P28.
Though this is good news for our peanut butter-loving dogs it is “bad” news for doggy parents because xylitol is a sugar substitute that is increasing in popularity. The Pet Poison Helpline (PPH), states that xylitol causes hypoglycemia and hepatic necrosis in dogs. The number of reported exposures has been increasing.
Xylitol is a natural sugar alcohol normally found in small amounts in many fruits and vegetables. It is popular because of its many beneficial properties: sweet as sugar but contains fewer calories, does not promote diabetes, and has plague-fighting properties. Xylitol is found in chewing gum, breath mints and dental products like toothpaste and mouthwash. It is also found in nasal sprays, OTC sleep aids, multivitamins, prescription sedatives, antacids, stool softeners and many other products like ice cream and chocolate. It is sold in bulk as a substitute for sugar in baking.
Since this is an ingredient found is so many products we need to be extra careful about keeping our dogs safe from ingesting it in any form. It is also a reminder that foods that are safe for us are not always safe for our pets.
Awareness is important – check labels looking for keywords that can indicate that a food contains xylitol. Other words or phrases to look for are “sweetened naturally” or “natural sweetener.” Chemically xylitol is classified as a sugar alcohol and that is another phrase to check for. Also be careful of products labeled “sugar free” or “no sugar added.”
Signs of xylitol poisoning in dogs include weakness, lethargy, collapse, vomiting, tremoring, seizures, jaundice, malaise, black-tarry stool, and even coma or death. If you suspect your dog ingested xylitol, contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline immediately for life-saving treatment.