We all grew up eating peanut butter and everyone has a jar of peanut butter, it's a staple in most households. But as recipes continue to evolve we now see sugar-replacement artificial sweetener xylitol appearing in hundreds of products, including our favourite brands of peanut butter.
Most dog owners give their dogs peanut butter, as a peanut butter treat (one tablespoon of peanut butter) on a lick mat and this nutty treat will keep your dog engaged for hours.
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol (alditol) and an 'all-natural' alternative. It can be used by people with diabetes because it does not raise blood glucose levels. It also helps lower cholesterol and triglycerides. It is commonly found in chewing gum, mints, breath fresheners, toothpaste as an alternative to sugar.
Despite being positioned as a "sugar-free", "all-natural", and a "natural sweetener" Xylitol containing peanut butter is toxic and extremely poisonous to your furry friend. Each year, thousands of dogs are poisoned by foods containing Xylitol, including peanut butter.
How is Xylitol dangerous for dogs but not for people?
People and dogs release insulin from their pancreas to control their blood sugar levels. When consumed by humans, xylitol does not stimulate insulin release from the pancreas. In contrast, dogs are more likely to release insulin from their pancreas when they eat something that contains xylitol since xylitol is absorbed more quickly.
After eating the xylitol, a rapid and profound drop in blood sugar levels may result (hypoglycemia), which may occur within 10 to 60 minutes while a high dose can cause liver failure.
In what quantities is Xylitol in peanut butter poisonous to dogs?
As different peanut butter products contain varying amounts of xylitol, the amount of a product must be consumed before toxicity is expected varies. Low doses of xylitol cause hypoglycemia, while higher doses cause liver failure in dogs. Different brands of peanut butter contain varying amounts of xylitol, even within one brand, based on the type and flavour. Some peanut butter brands contain a low amount of xylitol, while others contain a high amount. In many types and brands of peanut butter, xylitol has different amounts, making it difficult to determine whether or not a toxic dose has been consumed. Please check the ingredients list on the back of the jar to find out more.
How to Spot the Symptoms in Your Dog
As pet parents please lookout for the signs of xylitol poisoning; please take your dog to the vet if you think he has eaten xylitol.
The most common recommendation after ingestion of xylitol is to induce vomiting, but you should always consult your veterinarian before you do so. Depending on the severity of the hypoglycemia and other adverse effects, there may be a need to hospitalise your dog for medical monitoring.
A dog's first symptoms of xylitol poisoning are vomiting, followed by symptoms associated with low blood sugar such as decreased activity, weakness, staggers, incoordination, collapse, and seizures.
Please take your dog to a vet or an emergency animal hospital as soon as possible if he's eaten xylitol. If your canine companion suffers from hypoglycemia or other serious adverse effects, he may need to stay in the hospital for up to 24 hours.
How do I choose the best peanut butter for dogs?
Canine friends should be fine with any peanut butter brand, including crunchy peanut butter and natural peanut butter that do not contain xylitol (or chocolate). When consumed in moderation, it can be a tasty treat with a good source of protein and healthy fat for your dog. Although some varieties of peanut butter are more beneficial than others, always look at the ingredient list for more information.
The brands of regular peanut butter you find on the shelves have good qualities for your dog but probably includes preservatives and added sugar that isn't great for them. If you are looking for peanut butter (or another nut butter), look for one low in additives. Many dog-safe peanut butter brands market xylitol-free peanut butter; please look out for them at your local supermarket or grocery store.
Xylitol poisoning in dogs: What can you do to prevent it?
In products that claim to offer a sugar substitute, be sugar-free or low in sugar, check the ingredient label for xylitol. When purchasing a product that contains xylitol, be sure your pet cannot access it. Moreover: avoid giving your dog products containing xylitol (including those you don't think of as food, such as toothpaste). Check the label before you feed your dog peanut butter as an occasional treat. As always, please look out for pet poisoning ingredients like xylitol and let other dog parents know about the potential dangers.
How to make homemade nut butter
Here's an almond butter recipe that will make excellent homemade nut butter for your pet. The formula is made dog-friendly by cutting down on or eliminating ingredients like salt and sugar.
3 cup raw unsalted roasted almonds*
*You can also use almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, and hazelnuts; organic when possible
Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. Store in refrigerator. Serve chilled. It is important to note that although almonds, and just about any nut, can cause digestive upset in dogs, including pancreatitis, regular almonds, the type most commonly found in supermarkets, are not toxic to dogs. Bitter almonds, which you can sometimes find in health food stores, are toxic. Stick with sweet almonds when you make this recipe for almond butter, and you and your dog will be fine.
As a pet owner, it's important to be aware of the dangers of xylitol pose on our furry friends. Xylitol is found in hundreds of food products and is extremely poisonous to dogs- even small amounts can be deadly. If you think your dog has eaten something with xylitol in it, please take him to the veterinary clinic immediately. There are many brands of dog-safe peanut butter on the market, so make sure to look out for them when you're doing your grocery shopping.
Changing The Way Dogs Eat for Good!
As responsible pet parents, we know that you want to do everything to help. Living with a sick dog after a meal is no fun. Our two doggos, Marley and Belle, both like to eat fast! So we know exactly what it's like to live with a dog in pain and discomfort after eating.
We are introducing the Ultimate, Versatile 4-in-1 Slow Feeder Dog Bowl! We're excited this new slow feeder dog bowl combines modern design with innovative functionality. It's more than just a slow feeder. A slow feeder bowl that naturally slows your dog down at chow time, as well as a reversible lick mat so your pet can enjoy a variety of delicious foods like purees, stews, or wet food. An excellent bowl for easy delicious food prep and storage doubles as a dog-friendly travel bowl for your canine adventures.
Your dog will have a happier, healthier mealtime experience giving you peace of mind.