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Xylitol and Your Dog: What You Need to Know

3 min read Jan 18, 2022

If you have a canine companion, chances are you've treated him to some sweet peanut butter treats on occasion, maybe you've even let him lick the jar when it's empty or let them lick it right from the spoon. For the most part, peanut butter is a safe, tasty snack for your pup. However, some manufacturers have begun replacing sugar in their peanut butter with a cheaper artificial alternative: xylitol.

What does Xylitol to do Dogs?

Xylitol can cause serious illness and even death if ingested by your dog. The effects set in rapidly, with vomiting appearing within half an hour. However, the full effect of symptoms may take as long as 12 hours to manifest in your pup.

Xylitol stimulates insulin production in dogs and can decimate their blood sugar in very little time, causing weakness and loss of coordination. Left untreated, dogs may suffer seizures or severe lethargy, including collapsing and loss of muscle strength. Large amounts of ingested xylitol can cause acute liver failure and death.

The danger of xylitol for your dog cannot be overstated, and unfortunately, it may be more present in your home than you think. Sugarless gum is a common culprit, as many dogs have been known to gnaw on a pack left on the coffee table or nightstand. If you purchase low- or sugar-free food items often, always check the label for xylitol and keep it safely out of your dog's reach if it contains the sweetener.

Common Household Items that may have Xylitol

Xylitol may be present in these common household items:

  • Gum, candy, and mints
  • Toothpaste, mouthwash, dental floss
  • Chocolate
  • Peanut and other nut butters or spreads
  • Butter or margarine-like spreads
  • Vitamins, supplements, and oils
  • Cookies, desserts, ice cream, or yogurt
  • Flavored waters or sports drinks

If you suspect your dog has ingested even a tiny bit of a product containing xylitol, get her to the nearest vet or animal hospital as soon as possible. Keeping these harmful products away from your faithful pet is the first and best line of defense to keep your furry friend happy and healthy for years to come.

Consider Investing in Dog Insurance  

Looking for more ways to keep your pup happy and healthy? Consider investing in a dog insurance policy with MetLife Pet Insurance.1  Get your free quote today. 

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances. 

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.