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Every pet parent wants their furry friend to live their best life—and the best way of ensuring this is by watching their diet closely.
Some foods that you may consider safe may have an ingredient that could harm your furry baby.
Take peanut butter for instance; while it is safe for your dog, some brands use xylitol as one of the ingredients which is a big no for dogs.
Xylitol is a synthetic sugar that is widely used as a sugar substitute in food products such as gum, candy, baked goods, and peanut butter.
Even though it is safe for humans, the substance is toxic to dogs.
If a dog ingests xylitol, it will cause a rapid release of insulin, leading to a rapid decrease in blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
This is why you should keep any peanut butter containing xylitol away from your dog.
Here is how to know if your peanut butter has xylitol:
1. Check The Label
The FDA requires every product, including peanut butter, to have a clear ingredient list on the container.
So, to know if your peanut butter has xylitol, just check the ingredients list.
As you check the list, be sure to check for any variations e.g. xylitol gum, xylitol syrup, etc.
Some manufacturers may hide this ingredient using a name that is not easy to decipher.
For instance, some may list it as a sugar substitute.
As a rule of thumb, avoid any peanut butter that purports to be sugar-free because that is usually code for xylitol.
Granted, there are exceptions to this rule but it is always better to be safe than to be sorry.
2. Ask The Manufacturer
Another way of checking if the peanut butter contains xylitol is to ask the manufacturer directly.
You can do this by calling their official line, using their social media handles, or by sending them an email.
The contact details should be on the container but if they are not, you should find them on their official website.
If you go this route, remember to ask what they use as a sweetener in their peanut butter just to be sure.
You could also ask them if their peanut butter is pet-safe while at it.
3. Check the Brand’s Website
As a result of the FDA requirement and also in a bid to be transparent, most food manufacturers will also list the ingredients that go into their products on their website.
Unlike the product labels, the space on the website is unlimited, so they typically go into finer details.
For instance, a manufacturer may have a sugar substitute on their product label but then they will define what the substitute actually is on their website.
Some manufacturers will also give details of where they sourced the ingredients which can also help you make an informed decision.
If the website of your peanut butter brand is not listed on the label, you can get it by searching the brand name on Google.
Other Useful Tips
When choosing a peanut brand that is safe for your dog, it is best to go for the name brands as opposed to settling for store brands.
This is because name brands typically do better quality control of their products than some of the store brands.
Additionally, most stores do not actually manufacture their products – they outsource them from other companies and they may not necessarily let you know of this.
So, there is a good chance that the food company that is making the peanut butter for the store uses xylitol and they may not even list it due to the poor quality standards.
Even though xylitol is the most important ingredient to watch out for in peanut butter, be sure to also check for any other ingredient that may be toxic to your doggy.
For instance, some brands may not contain xylitol but they could still be using other artificial sweeteners (like erythritol) that are still toxic to dogs.
You may also want to check:
What to Do If Your Dog Eats Peanut Butter That Has Xylitol
If you accidentally fed your dog peanut butter that has xylitol in it, your dog could easily suffer from xylitol poisoning.
Signs of xylitol toxicity in dogs can include vomiting, loss of coordination, and seizures (see Else-vet’s video above for more information on how xylitol can affect your dog) .
If your dog is not treated in good time, his liver could fail which can be fatal.
As such, it is advisable to rush your dog to the vet as soon as possible – even if you haven’t seen any signs of xylitol poisoning.
If you can’t reach your vet, call the poison control hotline for immediate help.
Waiting for the signs before you act may be an expensive mistake that could result in the death of your beloved dog.
You may want to carry the peanut butter jar to the vet so that they can know the type of peanut butter your dog ate and the concentration of xylitol in it.
Related: How Long Does Xylitol Stay in a Dog’s System?
Do you use peanut butter in your homemade dog recipes?
Or do you mix it in their dog food?
If you do, have you ever taken time to read the ingredients on the label to ensure you are only feeding your dog peanut butter that is actually safe for him?
As a pet parent, it is your responsibility to keep your furry baby safe and that entails, among other things, checking the ingredients of the foods you serve them.
As we have established, an innocent mistake of feeding your dog peanut butter that has xylitol could cost their life.
So be more vigilant and check the ingredients first.
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Sable McNeil is a canine chef, professional pet blogger, and proud owner of two male dogs. I have been an animal lover all my life, with dogs holding a special place in my heart. Initially, I created this blog to share recipes, tips, and any relevant information on healthy homemade dog treats. But because of my unrelenting passion to make a difference in the world of dogs, I have expanded the blog’s scope to include the best information and recommendations about everything dog lovers need to know about their canine friends’ health and wellbeing. My mission now is to find the most helpful content on anything related to dogs and share it with fellow hardworking hound lovers. While everything I share is in line with the latest evidence-based veterinarian health guidelines, nothing should be construed as veterinary advice. Please contact your vet in all matters regarding your Fido’s health.