A new potential source of poisoning in dogs has recently come to our attention!

Peanut Butter and Xylitol…

For many years, Peanut Butter has widely been considered safe for dogs to eat. In fact, several manufacturers (such as Kong) recommend it for use with toys to help stimulate and interest your dog During this time, Peanut Butter has widely been regarded as safe for dogs and they can eat it with no harm.

Unfortunately, recent changes to the ingredients in some Peanut Butters have presented a risk to dogs. Some Peanut Butters are now formulated with ‘Xylitol’ as an artificial sweetener. Xylitol is incredibly dangerous for dogs and even a small amount can prove fatal. this sweetener is added to reduce the sugar content and lower the calories and is harmless to humans.

What happens when dogs eat Xylitol? For some reason we don’t understand (it doesn’t happen in humans) it triggers a huge release of insulin, causing blood sugar to critically drop and potentially death. Cats don’t seem to be affected, and they don’t tend to like sweet things anyway but we would still advise caution.

So far we are only aware of one brand of Peanut Butter in the UK with added Xylitol – but it has become a popular change made in America and is likely to become more common over here as well as people look to reduced sugar brands. take care to check the ingredients label before buying if you plan to give it to your dog.

Other Foods Can Be a Danger…

As well as being added to more ingredients, we are seeing Xylitol becoming more and more popular as a sweetening agent at home instead of sugar. You can now buy Xylitol granules on Amazon and we know of at least one person who uses it to sweeten cakes. It’s likely in the future we will see more and more foods with Xylitol in them. It used to mainly be found in chewing gum but is now being found in various desserts and sugar-free yoghurt, particularly things like cakes and sweets.

Please be aware! Be extra careful of sugar free or reduced calorie foods for your dogs. If you do use Xylitol as a sweetener in cooking, ensure to keep it well away from your dogs (and cats) and that they can’t get hold of it.

A spoon of peanut butter with jar in background
a packet of powdered xylitol, an artifical sweetener