Chocolate and grapes are definitive "no's" on the list of snacks your pooch can enjoy. But less suspecting food items, like certain brands of nut butter, are not safe for your four-legged pal either, according to a consumer update recently published by the Food and Drug Administration.
Some nut butters contain an ingredient called xylitol, a sugar alcohol that is slightly less caloric than real sugar and is present in a number of human foods. Snacks like sugarless gum, breath mints, chewable vitamins and even toothpaste often contain the ingredient, so these are particularly important to keep out of reach. Nut butter brands including Krush Nutrition, Nuts 'n More and P-28 contain the dog-unsafe sweetener.
"If you're concerned about your dog eating a food or product with xylitol in it, check the label of ingredients," Martine Hartogensis, a veterinarian at FDA, said. "If it does, indeed, say that it contains xylitol, make sure your pet can't get to it."
Xylitol is absorbed into dogs' bloodstream at an extremely fast rate, and may increase the release of insulin from their pancreas, which could be deadly for your pet.
Xylitol poisoning may first induce vomiting in dogs, and may be followed by lowered activity, weakness, lack of coordination and seizures. If your dog is showing symptoms, or if you think your dog has ingested the ingredient, the FDA advises you to take the dog to the vet or an animal hospital immediately.
Even xylitol-free peanut butter can be risky, depending on how the dog eats it. Spoon-feeding can be dangerous because your pup may be so enthusiastic about the treat, they might swallow the utensil whole.
Sharing is sweet, but make sure to do so with caution.