Most peanut butter is completely safe for your dog, but some brands add an ingredient called Xylitol that is safe for human consumption but is toxic to dogs. Dog owners need to be diligent about ensuring that the peanut butter they are feeding their furry friends does not contain this ingredient.
What is Xylitol?
Xylitol has become increasingly popular as a sugar substitute. It is a naturally occurring substance found in berries, plums, corn, oats, mushrooms, lettuce, trees, and other fruits. Commercially, it is extracted from different types of trees, corn fiber, and other vegetable materials and made into a white powder that looks similar to real sugar.
Why is Xylitol Dangerous For Dogs?
Xylitol is so dangerous for dogs because, unlike humans, Xylitol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, resulting in a release of insulin from the pancreas. This rapid insulin release causes a rapid decrease in blood sugar levels, otherwise known as hypoglycemia. If not treated promptly, it can be deadly.
What other types of products contain Xylitol?
There are many products on the market that contain Xylitol. Some examples are sugar-free gum, candies, breath mints, baked goods, pudding snacks, cough syrup, children’s chewable or gummy vitamins and supplements, mouthwash, and toothpaste. Xylitol also shows up in many over-the-counter and prescription human medications, especially those formulated as disintegrating drug tablets or liquids.
Signs of Xylitol Consumption?
Dogs will usually start to show the effects of Xylitol consumption within 15-30 minutes. Symptoms may include vomiting, difficulty walking, muscle weakness, and muscle tremors. Quick intervention is imperative if your dog is staggering and walking like they’re drunk.
What Should You Do If You Suspect Your Dog Has Consumed Xylitol?
If you suspect that your dog may have consumed a product with Xylitol, get them the help they need fast!!! Time is of the essence. Take them to the nearest veterinary or emergency clinic.
If you are able, put some corn syrup or maple syrup on your dog’s gums without wasting too much time. Their sugar levels will temporarily go up and help buy a little time. Boosting their sugar level is only a temporary solution, so they still need veterinary care.
Make sure and call your veterinarian on the way to the hospital and let them know you are on your way and what the situation is, so they are ready to provide immediate treatment when you arrive.
If diagnosed and treated promptly, the prognosis for a dog that consumed something with Xylitol can be promising. Of course, many factors can play in their survival and recovery. If you ever suspect your dog may have eaten a product with Xylitol, seek professional help immediately. Do not wait! Their life could depend on your quick response.