Dogs love peanut butter and we love to watch them eat it. They actually look pretty funny when they do it, but there's nothing funny about what can happen to your dog if you're giving them peanut butter with a certain ingredient.

With all the healthy options of foods being offered these days, there's also the risk in some of these options of additives that dogs should never have. Case in point, a certain sugar substitute added to some low calorie peanut butter products. It's called xylitol, and the FDA says it's extremely toxic for dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause hypoglycemia, seizures, liver failure, even death.

Jess Magyar is a Vet Tech at Bethel Veterinary Hospital, and she says this added ingredient can cause some major problems in dogs. "We always advise our clients to read the labels before purchasing anything that they may be giving to their pets, or putting on bones or treats for them to chew on."

So just how dangerous is this additive?

"It's very dangerous," says Magyar. "Pets can actually die from ingesting too much xylitol -- I've seen it first hand. If a pet gets into something that contains xylitol like peanut butter or certain types of gum, mints, even hard candies, it could be fatal. So many people have no idea that something they picked up in the grocery store, that may have an artificial sweetener, can cause some major consequences with your pet. Anything that has artificial sweeteners should be checked before giving it to your dog. In the event that your pet ingests anything that you know contains xylitol, you should contact your veterinarian immediately, or take your dog to an emergency clinic, or call the Pet Poison Hotline at 1-800-213-6680."

Symptoms of xylitol poisoning in an animal include vomiting, weakness, difficulty walking, depression or lethargy, tremors, seizure, and a coma. Since there is no antidote for xylitol poisoning, fast action is required to reverse the toxic effects, and to prevent any severe problems.

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