Peanut butter is a well-known dog treat and certainly a fan favourite for many of our canine companions, but the BC SPCA wants pet owners to know it’s not always the safest choice.
In a news release, the SPCA said that unless you’re making peanut butter at home, it’s important to read the labels to make sure it doesn’t contain anything that could be bad for your dog.
Xylitol, an artificial sweetener present in some peanut butters, is safe for people but not for dogs. The SPCA said that when consumed by dogs, it can cause a “sudden, dangerous drop in blood sugar, which can be life-threatening when left untreated.” Symptoms of xylitol consumption can include confusion, stumbling, lethargy (excessive sleepiness and depression) and seizures.
As more flavoured peanut butters make their way to store shelves, it’s also important to be on the lookout for chocolate. Symptoms of chocolate consumption can include vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, panting or restlessness, excessive urination and a racing heart rate.
“If you notice any of the above symptoms or suspect your dog has ingested xylitol or chocolate, contact your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary clinic immediately,” the SPCA stated. “How quickly treatment is started can mean the difference between life and death.”
The healthiest option for dogs is unsalted or homemade peanut butter that is low in sugar and free of any additives. Other nut butters, like those made from almonds, walnuts, and pecans, aren’t good for your dog because they have more oil and fat and can cause digestive issues.
But even if you are feeding your dog unsalted or homemade peanut butter, the SPCA said that less is more. As a guideline, the organization recommends that no more than 10 per cent of your dog’s caloric intake should come from treats.
And remember – just like humans, dogs can be allergic to peanut butter. Signs of an allergic reaction include red and itchy skin, bald patches, hotspots, difficulty breathing, agitation, diarrhea and vomiting.
If you see your dog exhibiting signs of xylitol or chocolate consumption, or any symptoms of an allergic reaction, the SPCA said pet owners should contact their veterinarian or an emergency veterinary clinic right away.
Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.