Peanut butter is a popular treat among dog owners. It’s full of protein and other nutrients and the fact that most dogs love to eat peanut butter makes it an excellent treat for them. But, is it actually safe to let your pooch lick a spoonful of peanut butter? Can dogs have peanut butter?
In a word, yes. Dogs can have peanut butter as long as it’s fed in regulated amounts. However, there are certain ingredients in peanut butter that can turn out to be lethal for your dog. One that you should be extremely careful about is xylitol. Although a safe sugar-replacement for humans, xylitol is toxic to dogs and is used in many brands of peanut butter. So, if your pooch consumes a large amount of peanut butter, they could suffer from xylitol poisoning and potentially lose their lives.
Continue reading to find out more about xylitol poisoning and how you can safely let your pupper enjoy peanut butter.
What Is Peanut Butter?
Peanut butter is a food paste or spread of ground peanuts. It usually contains added ingredients to modify its taste or texture, like salt, sweeteners, or emulsifiers. Popularly served on most breakfast dishes, Peanut butter has become a staple in American snacks. According to the American Society of Agronomy, Americans spend about $800 million annually on peanut butter.
Peanut butter is also especially famous among dog owners as a treat for their canines. Giving your dog a Hollow chew toy filled with peanut butter is a popular method to keep them occupied. You can use it as an affordable and easily available replacement for expensive dog food.
Can Dogs Have Peanut Butter?
For the most part, yes; dogs can have peanut butter. Most brands of peanut butter are safe for dogs and can be excellent sources of protein, healthy fats, and vitamins. Feeding them peanut butter is also a very efficient way to distract your dog when giving them a bath or trimming their nails. If you have trouble giving medicine to your dog, coating pills in peanut butter is a great way to prevent all the whining.
However, too much of anything is never good. Peanut butter contains certain ingredients that can be harmful to your dog, and people tend to be unaware of this. Too much peanut butter can lead to weight gain and several other health complications and as a dog owner, it’s high time you learned about this.
Most dogs love apples with peanut butter. Check our article ‘Can dogs eat apples with peanut butter?’ for more information.
How is Peanut Butter Bad for Dogs?
Although popular as a treat, peanut butter can still be bad for your dog because there are certain components used in the production of the spread that raise a cause for concern. For instance, Aspergillus flavus, a mold found on certain food products like corn, peanuts, and peanut butter, produces a naturally occurring toxic metabolite known as Aflatoxin. Aflatoxin is a natural carcinogen or cancer-inducing substance. Chronic exposure to aflatoxin affects many organs, especially the liver, in both humans and animals.
However, one of the biggest concerns with feeding your dog peanut butter is xylitol poisoning.
What Is Xylitol?
Xylitol is a naturally occurring alcohol found in most plant products, including fruits and vegetables. It is used in chewing gums and oral care products to prevent tooth decay and dry mouth. Similarly, it has other medical uses, like preventing middle ear infection in young children and nasal irrigation (sinus flush), among others.
Xylitol is a common sugar replacement for people with diabetes and is used in many products as a low-calorie sweetener. It has been widely used as a sugar-free sweetener for many years. Xylitol is also found in many soft drinks and even in some prescription drugs.
What you should be aware of is that some peanut butter manufacturers use xylitol in their products. Should this worry you? Not for yourself. But for your dog, yes.
What Is Xylitol Poisoning in Dogs?
Xylitol is safe for human consumption but it’s toxic to dogs. Xylitol poisoning causes a rapid release of insulin in dogs, dropping their blood sugar levels very quickly. Within 10 to 60 minutes of consuming xylitol, your pooch can suffer from hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. Untreated, this condition can be life-threatening.
Even small doses of xylitol can cause your dog to fall gravely ill. According to The Parc Vet, 0.1 gm of xylitol per 2.2 pounds of body weight is enough to cause hypoglycemia, while 0.5 gm can cause liver failure.
Symptoms of Xylitol Poisoning
If your dog has eaten products containing xylitol, like chewing gums, breath mints, toothpaste, mouth wash, and sugar-free desserts, they may show following symptoms:
- Decreased activity level
- Lack of coordination
If you suspect your dog has consumed xylitol or if your pup starts showing these symptoms, take them to the vet or call the animal poison control center immediately. Some symptoms may not be observable for up to 12 to 24 hours. So be careful of what your canine buddy chomps down and always be on the lookout for signs of adverse reactions if they’ve eaten something they’ve never had before.
Things to Be Careful About to Avoid Xylitol Poisoning in Dogs
To avoid xylitol poisoning in your dog, remember to be careful about the following:
- Always check for xylitol in the ingredients of products. This is especially true for sugar-free or low sugar items.
- Any product that contains xylitol must be safely kept away in places your dog cannot reach. Exercise further caution if your pup can go through your counters.
- Only use a vet-approved pet toothpaste
- If you use any kind of nut butter as a treat or a distraction, ensure that it’s xylitol-free.
Although easy to avoid, xylitol poisoning is quite common. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received several reports of dogs being poisoned by xylitol, many of which were the results of chewing gums. To ensure your dog doesn’t suffer from xylitol poisoning, make sure to keep any xylitol-containing product away from them.
So, can dogs have peanut butter? Without a doubt. Peanut butter has remained a popular treat for dogs and will probably stay this way forever. What you need to be careful of is the amount of peanut butter your dog ingests, and especially if the peanut butter you are feeding them contains xylitol. Remember, moderation is always the key.
Thank you for reading the article.
Has your dog ever eaten peanut butter? What was their reaction like? If you have any experience with dogs eating grapes, please share it in the comments section below.