Everything You Should Know About Peanut Butter and Your Dog

By Kim Casey, Newburyport.Com Correspondent
Kim is a huge animal lover and proud owner of two labs. Kim is also an Internet marketer and works closely with The Beach Dog Daycare in Newburyport. She enjoys writing and researching combined with blogging. She is an independent marketer and is self-employed but being an animal lover The Beach Dog Daycare is one of her favorite clients.
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Peanut Butter and your dog, xylitol

I never met a dog that didn’t like peanut butter. Not only can peanut butter be a healthy protein option for your dog but it can be a good distraction as well. I’m sure most dog owners have played the “hide a pill” in the peanut butter trick. It works like a charm every time. Peanut butter’s “stick to your mouth” consistency also makes a good diversion when you have to do something that Fido is not cooperative about, like clipping nails, or pulling ticks. You also can’t talk about peanut butter without mentioning the Kong, my personal favorite dog toy that keeps your dog busy trying to get the peanut butter out of the unbeatable plastic toy. This ingenious toy invention has saved many table legs and couches from teething puppies and anxiety-riddled furry family members. It’s also because of this toy that I made an unpleasant discovery, but I’m so glad I did because I learned some interesting things about peanut butter and your dog.

I found that all peanut kinds of butter are not created equal, and I found out the hard way. My teething pup became extremely loose in the goose after a few days with his Kong and peanut butter. I tried an elimination diet to try to find the culprit to the loose goose. I immediately put him back on rice and chicken because I knew his body responded well to that base diet. Problem solved, but what was the cause? After some careful reintroduction of foods back into his diet I found that the Kong and peanut butter were the culprits. I was perplexed, to say the least, and started researching. What I found was well worth sharing. I learned some eye-opening information about peanut butter and your dog.

I started my research through family and friends. The first thing fellow dog owners shared with me was that there was an artificial sweetener in some peanut butter that was poisonous to dogs. That’s not entirely factual. There is a sweetener called xylitol. Xylitol is used in food products as a sweetener. But it’s not an artificial sweetener, it’s actually a derivative from fruit and vegetables, some extracts even come from birch trees. What is factual is that xylitol is toxic to your dog. This explanation from WebMD has an informative summary of xylitol. Some brands use xylitol as a sweetener making peanut butter and your dog a toxic combination. This can be highly toxic, in fact, more dogs have died from xylitol poisoning than chocolate intoxication. Below is a list of peanut butter to avoid.

Brands Containing Xylitol

  • Go Nuts, Co.
  • Krush Nutrition
  • Nuts ‘N More
  • P28

This paragraph may be tough to get through, but this is important information to know about peanut butter and your dog. But please know that xylitol is not only found in peanut butter, but it’s also becoming mainstream in a lot of food products. The symptoms are not nice but need to be addressed, your dog’s life could depend on you having this knowledge. First, why does your dog not respond well to xylitol? Xylitol is quickly absorbed and triggers a huge release of insulin from your dog’s pancreas. This could cause a massive drop in Fido’s blood sugar level, medically termed hypoglycemia. Just 50 milligrams (mg) of xylitol per pound of body weight (100 mg per kg) can put your dog into a hypoglycemic state. Below is a list of symptoms as described by VCA Hospital. Should your dog show signs of hypoglycemia you should call the Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680) immediately. Typically they treat the dog just like a human in a diabetic shock, introduce sugar to bring the dog’s blood sugar levels back up to normal. If your dog is responsive you could try frosting or a bowl of water with sugar diluted in it. The idea is to give them something high in sugar that will have an immediate uptake response.

Symptoms of Xylitol Poisoning in Your Dog

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Lack of coordination or difficulty walking or standing
  • Depression or lethargy
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma

As you can see from the list my dog being loose in the goose isn’t a typical symptom of xylitol poisoning so Levi’s symptoms we’re either a coincidence or perhaps it was just too oily for his body at this point. We haven’t reintroduced him to it yet but I feel very comfortable having investigated peanut butter as the culprit. Had I not I may have run the risk of accidentally poisoning him with xylitol. So please remember this new additive isn’t just being used by the peanut butter brands. Many good manufacturers are using it. It’s popping up a lot in healthy products because it does not have the same response in humans. Below is a list of other brands that also use xylitol. Keep in mind that these are not typical products you would introduce to your dog, like peanut butter, but if they are in your house you always run the risk of your furry family member accidentally getting a hold of them. Please check labels and keep your dog safe. Also note: some labels could list xylitol as an artificial sweetener. I’d advise avoiding it just to be safe. In the end, always check the labels because peanut butter and your dog should be a good thing.

Brand Containing Xylitol

  • Clemmy’s Rich and Creamy ice cream products
  • John’s products (hard and soft candies, chocolates, drink mixes, etc.)
  • Jell-O sugar-free pudding snacks
  • Nature’s Hollow jams, syrup, ketchup, honey, etc.
  • SparX Candy
  • Zipfizz energy drink-mix powders
  • KAL Colostrum Chewable, Vanilla Cream
  • KAL Dinosaurs Children’s Vitamins and Minerals (chewable tablets)
  • Kidz Digest Chewable Berry from Transformation Enzyme
  • L’il Critters Fiber Gummy Bears
  • Mega D3 Dots with 5,000 IU of Vitamin D3 per “dot” (dissolvable tablet)
  • Suntheanine L-Theanine chewable tablets by Stress-Relax
  • Vitamin Code Kids by Garden of Live (chewable multivitamins)
  • Webber Natural Super Sleep Soft Melts (dissolvable tablets)

Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680) immediately.