Some peanut butters may be harmful for dogs

Posted at 7:33 PM, Feb 26, 2018

Veterinarians have a warning for pet owners about an ingredient in some foods — including peanut butter — that can be toxic to your pet.

It's a sweetener, called xylitol, that's found in different brands of peanut butter, and it can make your pet sick, or even kill them. The ingredient can also cause liver failure.

"It's kind of horrible to think about because it's common knowledge — everyone gives their dog peanut butter," Laura Lovely said.

Lovely said it's devastating to learn her dog Sweetie's favorite snack could send her to the emergency room.

"Whenever she wants kind of a healthy treat, because it has a lot of protein, and when she takes her medication," Lovely said.

It's a food Lovely said she and Sweetie both enjoy.

"Xylitol is a wonderful low calorie sweetener for you and me but it can be deadly for our dogs," veterinarian Dr. Christopher Byers said.

It's not just in peanut butter. Byers said you'll find xylitol in a number of products.

"Certain brands of peanut butter, toothpaste, certain gums, certain breath mints," Byers said.

He said your dog can be exposed to it by accident.

"One of the more common gums that we encounter in the emergency room is Orbit," Byers said. "Orbit is a great product, but it does contain xylitol."

Within a half-hour, he said, your dog's blood sugar will start to plummet.

"They can be lethargic. They can collapse. They can even have seizures," Byers said.

So it's essential for all dog owners to check labels, he said.

"I think it's awful," Lovely said. "if it's not healthy for dogs, how is it supposed to be healthy for us as well?" 

Byers said they see xylitol intoxication in dogs several times a week, and that if you see the signs, get your dog to the emergency room as soon as possible.