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Doggie Danger: Not All Peanut Butter is Created Equal

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Image of a person feeding a dachshund peanut butter by hand.

Most dogs love peanut butter, and it’s a main ingredient in many doggie treats. At Tradewinds, many pet-boarding parents bring a jar along so we can use a dab to disguise a nasty tasting pill.

But several years ago, a few manufacturers started putting xylitol in peanut butter products.

This artificial sweetener can be toxic to dogs, even in low doses. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals issued a warning in 2006 when xylitol-related dog deaths increased dramatically. Snopes, the fact-checking site, confirms internet reports of dogs becoming sick or having to be euthanized after ingesting xylitol.

Here’s why xylitol is so dangerous for dogs, according to Healthline and its sources: “When dogs eat xylitol, their bodies mistakenly think that they’ve ingested glucose and start producing large amounts of insulin. When this happens, the dog’s cells start taking up glucose from the bloodstream. This can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels) and be downright fatal. Xylitol may also have detrimental effects on liver function in dogs, with high doses causing liver failure. Keep in mind that it only takes about 0.1 g/kg for a dog to be affected, so a 3 kg (6-7 lbs) Chihuahua will get sick from eating only 0.3 grams of xylitol. This is less than the amount contained in a single piece of chewing gum.”

Preventive Vet provides a list of many products containing xylitol (including a peanut and nut butter list). They say the number of peanut butter brands containing xylitol has dropped from five to four, as of their Aug. 2017 update.

You and your canine best friend can still share a jar of peanut butter, but just to be safe, be sure to check the label first.

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