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GALT eNews: Peanut Butter with Xylitol Can Kill Dogs - Please Read  and Share!

Xylitol is a natural alcohol found in most plants, including fruits and vegetables.  For years, it has been widely used as a sugar substitute, mostly in sugar-free chewing gum.  It is also widely used in toothpaste, mints, floss, candy, chewable vitamins, and sugar-free baked goods. Now, certain brands of peanut butter have started adding xylitol.  That’s a problem because many of us love to give our dogs peanut butter and, according to VCA Hospitals, “Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs.“  

VCA Hospitals explains that in dogs (and other non-primates), xylitol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream stimulating the pancreas to over release insulin.  The excess insulin results in a “rapid and profound decrease in the level of blood sugar (hypoglycemia), an effect that occurs within 10-60 minutes of eating the xylitol. Untreated, this hypoglycemia can be life-threatening.”

As little as 50 milligrams of xylitol per pound of dog can cause serious hypoglycemia.  Higher doses can quickly lead to liver failure.  According to VCA Hospitals, as little as 2 pieces of some common brands of gum cause severe hypoglycemia, and 10 pieces can cause liver failure in a 45 pound dog.  The symptoms of xylitol poisoning in dogs usually start within a half hour of ingestion and include vomiting, weakness, lack of coordination, depression, lethargy, tremors, seizures and even coma. 

To prevent xylitol poisoning, make sure you know if you have any products in your house containing xylitol and keep them out of reach of all your pets.  Unfortunately, that means you need to carefully check the ingredient labels of everything, even your peanut butter. In particular, Nuts N More brand uses xylitol in several of its “butter" products.  They refer to it as a “natural sweetener (birch xylitol),“ but it is still xylitol and can kill your dog.  Never use peanut butter containing xylitol to bake dog treats or to persuade your sweet pup to take meds.  Watch out for a xylitol peanut butter pancake syrup and many other products listed here.  

Talk with friends and family who make dog treats about the dangers of including xylitol sweetened peanut butter, and make sure you know what is in any home made treat before you feed it to your hounds.  If you’re reasonably handy in the kitchen, you can make your own peanut butter so you know what goes in it.  When you have guests over, please make sure to store coats and purses potentially containing gum or breath mints behind closed doors.

If you think your pet is suffering from xylitol poisoning, contact your veterinarian or Pet Poison Helpline  (800-213-6680) immediately. Inducing vomiting can make hypoglycemia worse, so do not do so unless directed by a veterinarian.  If possible, keep the wrapper of whatever you suspect the dog ate, and take it to the vet with you immediately. 

Please share this information with everyone.  Now that xylitol use has jumped from gum products to peanut butter, we don’t know what will be next.  Read and re-read ingredient labels. A manufacturer can change its ingredients at any time.  If you come across more brands of peanut butter or other products commonly given to dogs that include xylitol, please let us know so that we can spread the word.  

We recently had a case where an 80 lb dog ate a single pack of gum and almost died. He had to be hospitalized for 3 days and his treatment cost well over $1,000. Keep your pups safe, everyone!

My in-law’s huge irish wolfhound got into some brown sugar substitute and he had to be put down after a week at the vet’s office and lots of procedures trying to get the Xylitol out of his system. That stuff is serious business and should be nowhere near a dog.

A friend of mine has started giving peanut butter to her dog, I need to warn her about this :(

Reblogging now also to warn any of my friends on here who are dog owners about this also…

Signal boost!!!