Many of our customers have been asking us what to 'stuff' a treat toy with for their dog?
Peanut Butter seems a popular choice but beware... Check the ingredients carefully before giving peanut butter to your dog, if it contains the sweetner 'Xylitol' donot use!
What is Xylitol?
Xylitol is a naturally occurring substance that is widely used as a sugar substitute. Chemically, it is a sugar alcohol, and found naturally in berries, plums, corn, oats, mushrooms, lettuce, trees, and some other fruits.
Commercially, most xylitol is extracted from corn fiber, birch trees, hardwood trees and other vegetable material. Although it has been used as a sugar substitute for decades, its popularity has increased dramatically in the last few years due to its low glycemic index and dental plaque fighting properties.
How is it used?
Xylitol is manufactured into a white powder that looks and tastes similar to sugar. In many countries it has been approved for use in oral care products, pharmaceuticals and as a food additive. Over recent years, the number and types of products that contain xylitol has greatly increased. Example products include sugar-free gum, candies, breath mints, baked goods, pudding snacks, cough syrup, children's chewable or gummy vitamins and supplements, mouthwash, and toothpaste. Xylitol is also showing up in over-the-counter nasal sprays, laxatives, digestive aids, allergy medicines, and prescription human medications, especially those formulated as disintegrating drug tablets (sleep aids, pain relievers, antipsychotics, etc.) or liquids.
Why is xylitol increasing in popularity and use?
Xylitol is about as sweet as sucrose, but contains only about two-thirds of the calories. As a sugar substitute, it is lower on the glycemic index, a scale that ranks carbohydrate-rich foods by how much they raise blood sugar levels compared to glucose. Being lower on the glycemic index makes xylitol useful for diabetics or people on low carbohydrate diets.
With respect to oral health, research has shown that xylitol helps reduce the formation of plaque, inhibits dental cavities, and stimulates the production of saliva.
How safe is xylitol?
Xylitol is safe for use in people, although like most sugar alcohols, it may have a mild laxative effect when eaten in large amounts or when first introduced to a diet. This occurs because xylitol may not be completely digested in the intestines until the digestive system adapts.
"Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs."
Xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure or even death in dogs.
Why is xylitol toxic to dogs?
In both humans and dogs, the level of blood sugar is controlled by the release of insulin from the pancreas. Xylitol does not stimulate the release of insulin from the pancreas in humans. However, when non-primate species like dogs eat something containing xylitol, the xylitol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, resulting in a potent release of insulin from the pancreas. This rapid release of insulin causes 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.
How much xylitol is poisonous to a dog?
The dose of xylitol that can cause hypoglycemia in the dog has been reported between 50 milligrams (mg) of xylitol per pound of body weight (100 mg per kg). The higher the dose ingested, the more the risk of liver failure. The most common source of xylitol poisoning that Pet Poison Helpline* gets calls about comes from sugar-free gum. Some brands of gum contain fairly small amounts of xylitol, and it would take up to 9 pieces of gum to result in severe hypoglycemia in a 45 pound (20 kg) dog, while 45 pieces would need to be ingested to result in liver failure. With other common brands of gum which contain 1 g/piece of gum, only 2 pieces would result in severe hypoglycemia, while 10 pieces can result in liver failure. As there is a large range of xylitol in each different brand and flavor of gum, it is important to identify whether a toxic amount has been ingested.
What should I do if my dog eats something containing xylitol?
If you suspect that your pet has eaten a xylitol-containing product, please contact your veterinarian immediately.
Do not induce vomiting or give anything orally to your dog unless specifically directed to do so by your veterinarian. It is important to get treatment for your dog as quickly as possible. As some dogs may already be hypoglycemic, inducing vomiting can make them worse!
What are the symptoms of xylitol poisoning?
Symptoms of xylitol poisoning develop rapidly, usually within 15-30 minutes of consumption. Signs of hypoglycemia may include any or all of the following:
- Lack of coordination or difficulty walking or standing
- Depression or lethargy
In severe cases, the dog may develop seizures or liver failure. Dogs that develop liver failure from xylitol poisoning often show signs of hypoglycemia.
So if you still want to use Peanut Butter...this is the peanut butter we use, nothing added, no added palm oil, no added sugar, no added salt, just roasted peanuts and their skins ground until nearly smooth. Takes a bit of getting used to, as unlike most peanut butters it's not jammed full of sugar or sugar substitute, you can even give to you kids lol