Read This Before Using Peanut Butter to Give Your Pet Medicine

By Species, By Topic, Care & Wellness, Cats, Dogs, Emergency Situations

If you’ve ever struggled to give your pet medicine, you’ve probably come across the peanut butter trick. A dollop of the creamy, salty condiment can hide the bitter flavor of tablets and capsules. Proceed with caution, though: Not all peanut butter brands are safe for animals. That’s because health-conscious peanut butter companies have begun using a low-calorie sweetener called Xylitol.

Xylitol is a sugar-like molecule used most commonly in toothpaste and sugar-free gums. Not only does it taste sweet, it has fewer cavities. It also inhibits bacteria growth, which slows down the development of cavities in teeth. And that’s great, for people. However, it is deadly to dogs. When a canine eats Xylitol, the animal’s body releases a huge volume of insulin. This is because the Xylitol so closely mimics sugar, the dog’s biology reacts to lower its total blood glucose. However, the resulting flood of insulin can be 10 times greater than what is actually needed and, consequently, the dog’s blood sugar levels plummet. The extreme hypoglycemia that follows the insulin release is life-threatening to dogs. These lethal side effects can occur less than an hour after the Xylitol is consumed.

Just one teaspoon of peanut butter made with xylitol can be enough to kill your beloved pet. Some of the signs of xylitol exposure are vomiting, seizures, weakness, unsteadiness, tremors, loss of consciousness, and death. And peanut butter isn’t the only food that contains this sweetener. This is why, as a general rule, CEDARCREST Animal Clinic advises owners to avoid giving their pets foods engineered for human consumption. If you must give your dog a human treat, be sure to educate yourself on what is safe and what is toxic and be extra sure to read the labels on the food that you give your pets.

If you have accidentally given your pet peanut butter, or any other product, containing Xylitol, do not try to make it throw up! This can cause irreparable damage to its esophagus. Instead, call CEDARCREST Animal Clinic immediately at 540-943-7577.

CEDARCREST Animal Clinic provides medical and surgical care for every stage of your pet's life including preventive wellness care exams and vaccines, spays/neuters, and a variety of specialized care for your dog, cat, avian, or exotic. We are home to the only veterinarian practitioner in Virginia to be double Boarded in Avian and Canine/Feline care and provide care for birds, small mammals, and reptiles of all sorts! Plus, we are home to Virginia's most exclusive dog boarding resort that includes heated floors, an expansive play area, and even webcams so you can watch your pet while you're away. We're located in Fishersville, Virginia, and serve Augusta County and surrounding areas including Waynesboro, Staunton, Harrisonburg, and Charlottesville. 

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