If you ever consider sharing a human treat with your dog, or if something you eat might accidentally end up in your dog’s reach, you have to be aware of one extremely problematic artificial sweetener: Xylitol.
Xylitol is a sugar substitute that manufacturers add to many food products, even ones that are not marked ‘low sugar’ or ‘light.’ A sweetener with a low glycemic index, xylitol is a popular choice for diabetics. But for dogs, ingestion can cause a sudden and steep decline in blood sugar. Response time is critical for saving your dog- in as little as 30-60 minutes, the effects can be fatal.
You might think that the harmful properties are removed during the derivation process, but they aren’t. As with alcohol, it only takes a small amount of the chemical to kill your pet or leave them with permanent liver damage.
Xylitol can be found in many products, including gum, breath mints, candy, jams, and children’s vitamins. And of special concern to dog lovers, xylitol can even be found in certain brands of peanut butter, a popular human food for dogs. BarkPost recently learned that despite the dangers of this particular food additive to dogs, companies who manufacture peanut butter continue to put it in their products.
The website Preventative Vet maintains a rolling list of peanut butter companies who continue to do so. Most recently they added the following:
Most dog owners are careful about the hooman food we share with our pups, but peanut butter is one that we often give as a special treat. Unfortunately, peanut butter is also a food that can contain xylitol.
Dr. Jason Nicholas, who writes for the blog The Preventive Vet, says:
“Ingestion of as little as 0.1 gram (g) of xylitol per kilogram (kg) of body weight (0.1 g/kg) can cause a rapid and dangerous drop in a dog’s blood sugar, a condition called hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia can show as staggering, appearing disoriented, collapse, weakness, and seizures.”
The good news is that the majority of the peanut and other nut butters containing xylitol are not the ones most of us stock in our homes. Nut butters with the additive tend to be ones geared toward humans who are looking for more health conscious and higher protein items.
Dr. Nicholas identifies two of these peanut butters on his blog: Krush Nutrition nut butters and Nuts ‘N More® nut butters. The latter is already taking steps to include more information about the dangers of xylitol on their packaging.
Keep in mind that there are likely more nut butters containing xylitol. Make sure that you read ingredients labels carefully.