Many pet parents love the taste of creamy nut butters. Packed with protein and omega-3 fatty acids, these tasty spreads are a great way to snack smart and power through your day, right? Unfortunately, the same can't be said for peanut butter's role in Fido's life. While nut butters may be a great snack for humans, they can be incredibly dangerous for dogs.
The Dangers of Xylitol
Xylitol is a natural sweetener that's popular in a variety of health foods for its low glycemic index and preservative-free status. Unfortunately, it can cause hypoglycemia and hepatic necrosis (acute liver failure) in dogs.
Fortunately, the sweetener hasn't started popping up in peanut butter brands across the board as only three specialty companies (Nuts 'N More, Krush Nutrition, and P28 Foods) currently produce spreads containing the ingredient.
With that in mind, pet parents who feed their dogs peanut butter as a treat or bake dog snacks made with peanut butter should be careful. Although Xylitol hasn't yet found its way to mainstream status, it's headed that way quickly. The bad news: dogs that ingest a large amount of it may find themselves at risk for illness or death.
Keeping Your Dog Safe From Xylitol
With this in mind, it's obvious that keeping your dog away from Xylitol is an important step in ensuring his safety and well-being. Xylitol toxicity is based on the amount ingested by the dog. For dogs who weigh in at 10 lbs., 22 grams will be a toxic dose; for dogs that are 75 lbs. or heavier, 170 grams is a toxic dose.
Pet parents need to check labels carefully and look for obvious keywords, like "xylitol", as well as less obvious ones such as "sweetened naturally" which will indicate the presence of the ingredient. Although many vets don't believe that Xylitol will become so popular that it begins to replace other natural sugars or sweeteners, there is a chance; therefore, it's important to keep a careful eye on your nut butter's ingredient list in order to stay abreast of potential hazards.
Safety Tips for Pet Parents
Every pet parent loves to reward Fido with a special treat now and again, and there's nothing wrong with that. In order to keep your pup safe, though, it's important to only feed treats that are specifically formulated for dogs. Stay away from human foods like straight peanut butter. If you want to bake your dog a snack with nut butter in it, spend some time consulting the label beforehand.
Additionally, ensure that you store potentially hazardous household staples out of reach of your dog. Many dogs would happily eat an entire jar of nut butter, which would lead to catastrophic health consequences. Keep the peanut butter securely stored where your dog can't get to it and ensure that he has access to healthy, dog safe treats instead.
Content reviewed by a veterinarian.