Updated: Sep 24, 2018
Everyone is aware that there are certain human foods and ingredients that are toxic to our four-legged family members. What you may not be aware of is what products contain toxic ingredients. Unfortunately, it is becoming more common for people-food to be unsafe for pets.
When you have a dog that doesn't like taking medication, we may suggest using peanut butter to "help the medicine go down." Generally speaking, peanut butter is ok to give to your dog in small quantities. Recently some companies have been adding the ingredient “xylitol” to their peanut butter. Pet owners need to be aware of this harmful and potentially deadly ingredient to pets. If you use peanut butter to give medications, there are two things you need to know.
First, what is xylitol? Xylitol is a sugar substitute that is used widely in the chewing gum industry. It also is being placed into baking mixes, pre-packaged baked goods, sugar-free candy, and can be substituted for sugar in recipes. The concern is that xylitol, even in small quantities, can cause severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), acute (sudden) liver failure, and hemorrhage (bleeding). Dogs that exhibit only elevated liver enzymes may recover fully from the ingestion, while a more severe intoxication can be fatal. There is no known antidote for xylitol toxicity. Treatment of these patients is aimed at decontamination/induction of vomiting and supportive care.
Second, is there xylitol in my peanut butter? Recently we learned that a GNC brand of peanut butter spread, “Nuts ‘n More,” contains xylitol as a sweetener. Since this ingredient is being placed in more of our food products, it is important that pet parents ALWAYS read the ingredient label to ensure no xylitol is in the product they are using.
For more information or if you have any questions, please contact us at (407) 366-4486.