Peanut Butter and Xylitol Dangers for Pets

A dog drinking from a spoon

Have you ever been wondering how to get that medication into your pet, and reached for a jar of peanut butter? You’re not alone! Peanut butter – perhaps for its stickiness and for its general yumminess to dogs – is a common “tool” used among pet owners to give pet medication.

But did you know that certain brands of peanut butter contain a substance that can kill your dog? Sadly, it’s true. A sugar substitute called xylitol is being used more and more often in peanut butter, and it can spell really bad news for your dog or cat.

We’ll explore the hazards of xylitol and which products – in addition to peanut butter – to look out for in your home.


Sugar free gum is toxic to dogs and cats!

Xylitol, A Sugar Substitute

Xylitol is a five-carbon sugar alcohol commonly used as a sugar substitute in chewing gum, candies, nicotine gums, toothpastes, and baked goods. It is also available in a granulated form at grocery stores   as a sweetener.

Why is xylitol (artificial sweetener) so dangerous for dogs and cats? Ingestion of xylitol causes low blood sugar by affecting insulin release throughout the body. Low blood sugars can be seen 10-15 minutes after eating.  The low blood sugar can be compounded further into liver damage if higher levels are ingested. The liver is the main organ of metabolism.

Sugar – Free chewing gum is the most common cause in the dog—- (commonly ingested from “purse digging”)

If xylitol ingestion occurs or think it may have occurred then consult your veterinarian immediately.

Halloween Candy and Pets (Trick or Treat)

Halloween Candy and Pets

As we all get ready for Halloween and buy lots of chocolate and candy to pass out to the trick or treater’s, please remember that chocolate and candy can be dangerous to our pets.  As we are probably all aware that dogs cannot have chocolate, but there is some chocolate that are worse than others.  Baker’s chocolate is the most dangerous.  It has the highest concentrations of caffeine and theobromines.  It only takes a small amount of Baker’s chocolate to be dangerous.  One ounce of baker’s chocolate in a 20 pound dog can cause seizures and needs immediate treatment.  In a 10 pound dog 3 ounces of milk chocolate can cause a rapid heart rate and potentially seizures which would require medical attention.  Lesser amounts of chocolate can cause vomiting and diarrhea. 

The other product that can be very dangerous is xylitol.  Xylitol is a product in sugar free gum and is becoming more popular in baked goods.  A small amount of ingested xylitol can be very dangerous.  It will cause the blood sugar levels to drop which can cause seizures.  It can also cause liver failure.  This is a very dangerous product to dogs so please make sure they do not receive xylitol.

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