CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Most dog owners know they should not feed chocolate to their pet, but did you know that certain types of peanut butter can also poison your dog?
The ingredient that dog moms and dog dads should be aware of is called Xylitol.
The artificial sweetener is found in things like sugar-free gum, candy, toothpaste, baking goods, sugar-free alternatives for diabetics and is now showing up in the ingredient list of a few low-sugar brands of peanut butter.
The news was shocking to Joe Busby who often gives peanut butter as a treat to his two Pomeranians, Georgie and Frankie.
“Yeah I have definitely used it before. I put it in my protein shakes and I usually let them like the spoon off and stuff,” Busby said. “Now I guess I have to read the label. You usually read them for health benefits for yourself, now I guess you have to make sure its not going to poison your animals.”
Veterinarian Loni Patke said Xylitol is safe for human consumption, but it can cause liver failure in canines and even death.
“I would say it’s one of the top items you do not want your dog to ingest based on the amount of therapy and the potential severity on the body,” she said.
Patke recommends calling your vet right away if your dog starts vomiting, shows signs of weakness or has seizures.
“Unfortunately with the peanut butter options, it can be going through the blood stream as early as 15 to 60 minutes so really quickly," Patke said. “So if your vet is just a few minutes away we may just already get treatment started for them because we won’t have time to make them vomit.”
Patke said the price for treating Xylitol poising ranges from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars and Busby wants to avoid that large vet bill.
“Yeah I am going to try to not have those products at my house at all. I mean I try to keep everything out of reach of them that I don’t want but you know animals are curious," Busby said. "You don’t realize how expensive dogs are until you get them and definitely taking care of stuff before and being preventative is way cheaper than reacting.”
If you use peanut butter as a way to mask medication for your dog, Patke said there are a few substitutes you can use.
“Certain cheeses like the Easy Cheese (processed cheese spread product in a can) you can squirt out or cream cheese in small quantities," Patke said. “there are certain types of pill pockets that you can wrap your pill and its full of flavor and the pets usually consume that really well.”
Some peanut butter brands that are known to have Xylitol as an ingredient which include Nuts 'N More, Go Nuts Co, No Cow, P28, and Nutty By Nature from Krush Nutrition.