Ask the Vet: Is Peanut Butter Safe for Dogs?

A reader asks if it's alright to hide her dog's pills in a peanut butter treat.

Dog licking peanut butter from a spoon
(Elizabeth Foley / Shutterstock)

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Question: Is it safe to hide my dog’s pills in peanut butter and give them that way?

Answer: Yes, provided you use peanut butter that is is free of xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in many products. Xylitol poisons dogs in two ways: It induces liver failure, and it releases insulin, which lowers blood sugar levels enough to cause loss of coordination, seizures, and death. There is no specific antidote, but immediate veterinary care is often successful at saving the dog’s life.

As you might expect, sugar-free gums and candies often contain xylitol, as do some chocolate candies, any baked goods, toothpastes, and vitamin supplements, among others.

Remember to read labels, and keep all xylitol-containing products away from dogs.

Ask the Vet is written by veterinarian Lee Pickett, VMD. Send questions to [email protected] and read more at

This article is featured in the May/June 2021 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.

Featured image: (Elizabeth Foley / Shutterstock)

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  1. This is really good information, since dogs LOVE peanut butter. Most of us (I hope) are aware of chocolate’s toxicity for dogs, but may be unaware about the xylitol. This needs to be more common knowledge. I get all-natural peanut butter from Sprout’s, so I can give my dog that occasional teaspoon of peanut butter treat without worry. There’s enough of that otherwise as it is!


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