June 1, 2015
Many people may be familiar with xylitol, a sweetener commonly found in chewing gum and toothpaste. Xylitol is safe for humans and supports dental health in addition to being a sugar substitute. Because it is naturally derived instead of artificial, it is often assumed to be completely safe. Due to differences in how sugars are metabolized, however, in our pets xylitol is extremely toxic. Even very small amounts can cause life-threatening hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and liver failure. Any time a pet ingests any amount of xylitol, it should be cause for concern.
In particular, there is a new brand of peanut butter called “Nuts ‘N More” made by GNC and available at several retailers that contains xylitol as an ingredient. This is the only peanut butter product that we are aware of that contains xylitol at this time, but sugar substitutes are quietly making their way into a variety of foods and products. Since peanut butter is commonly used by pet owners as a treat, to give pills, or to stuff hollow toys such as Kongs this is a good reminder to always read labels carefully for anything we give to our pets.
Also keep in mind that xylitol is available in bulk for home baking, so if you have any doubt about what baked goods contain, ask the baker or make extra sure your pet does not sample those muffins or cookies!
If you have any questions about xylitol, please feel free to contact the clinic and speak to one of our doctors.
For a list of some of the products containing xylitol: