Q: You’ve mentioned many times in your column that dog owners can keep their pets occupied by stuffing peanut butter into toys. Recently, I read that some peanut butter contains Xylitol, an artificial sweetener you’ve reported is harmful to dogs. How dangerous is it? L.D., Buffalo Grove, IL
A: It’s true that some newer peanut butter products contain the sugar substitute Xylitol. Dr. Justine Lee, an emergency veterinarian and critical care specialist, as well as a toxicologist in St. Paul, MN, concurs that Xylitol is toxic to pets.
Some sugar-free gum, mints, mouthwash and toothpaste also contain Xylitol. Some cookie recipes call for Xylitol. As far as anyone knows, Xylitol is not dangerous to people, but in dogs it can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar (hypoglycemic shock) and even liver failure.
While the dosage and the pet’s size will determine if a dog becomes ill, Lee says it’s best to keep products containing Xylitol out of the house all together, as some dogs are keen to sample strange items, like toothpaste.
Most dogs love peanut butter, and working to extract this treat from inside a toy offers a kind of occupational therapy, especially for dogs who are home alone or easily bored.
Krush Nutrition peanut butters contain Xylitol, and the company responsibly offers a warning to dog owners on its website. Nuts ‘n more peanut butter spread also contains Xylitol. However, most peanut butter products don’t contain Xylitol. Still, it’s a good idea to check the ingredient list before you buy.
©Steve Dale Pet World, LLC; Tribune Content Agency