We want to make our clients aware of a sugar substitute which is toxic to dogs and is now being used in some peanut and other nut butters. This product is called Xylitol. Because peanut and other nut butters are a treat that pets commonly enjoy, we feel that it is important that our clients are aware of this potential danger.
Xylitol is safe for humans to consume due to our different metabolic rate. Xylitol is absorbed relatively slowly in humans causing little to no reaction and quite rapidly in dogs causing blood sugar levels to drop which can be quite harmful.
Although we are not certain why, Xylitol can also cause damage to the liver. Signs and symptoms typically develop 8 – 12 hours after exposure. How a pet reacts is dependent on the amount of xylitol ingested in relation to the size of the dog. Complications can range from temporary illness to acute liver failure and even to death.
Symptoms of Xylitol poisoning include:
· Lethargy and weakness
At Streetsville Animal Hospital, we often hear from clients about how their pets enjoy peanut butter as a treat, as a filling for their Kong or as a way to administer medication. It is very important that labels are checked before offering any type of nut butter, especially ones purchased at health-food stores.
Some alternative names for Xylitol are:
· Birch bark extract
· Birch sugar
Treatment for Xylitol poisoning differs depending on how quickly it is discovered. If it is within 30 minutes, vomiting can be induced although beyond that timing, hospitalization and aggressive supportive care is required.
If you have any additional questions regarding this information, as always please feel free to give us a call and we would be more than happy to help!