Peanut-Butter-danger

Peanut butter is a delight for dogs and dog lovers – what better to coat the inside of Kong toys or hide those yucky pills? But dog lovers beware!”
A new peanut butter on the market is actually toxic to dogs. The problem is a sweetener called xylitol, which is used in some Nuts ‘N More products. Xylitol exists naturally in small amounts in some fruits and vegetables. For people, it is thought to have benefits over sugar including fewer calories, less tooth decay and fewer problems for diabetics. It’s a common ingredient in sugar-free gum, candy, toothpaste, and baked goods. Unfortunately, what’s safe for humans isn’t always safe for dogs.

So what happens when a dog eats xylitol?

Xylitol is extremely dangerous for dogs – even in small amounts. In low doses (0.1 grams per kilogram of body weight) it causes insulin release and low blood sugar. If blood sugar drops low enough, your dog can experience seizures or even a coma. In slightly higher doses (0.5 grams per kilogram) xylitol can cause liver failure. The amount of xylitol is proprietary information in most food products, so we often have to assume that a patient who ingested any food containing xylitol received a toxic dose. In this case, we typically recommend hospitalizing the dog with a constant infusion of sugar in an IV line, and we give medications to protect the liver. We monitor sugar and liver values on bloodwork for 2-3 days so that we can be proactive in treating liver disease if it develops. Once present, liver failure is a very difficult-and sometimes deadly – condition.

Needless to say, a few days in the hospital with frequently monitored bloodwork makes for a rough time for dogs and their people. Prevention is the best strategy; so read those labels, dog lovers! And be careful about human foods in general – did you know that grapes, macadamia nuts, and bread dough are also toxic for dogs?

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Thanks to Rebecca McQuitty, DVM for this interesting and valuable information.

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