Did you know that certain varieties of gum are toxic to dogs? Here are the steps you should take if your dog eats gum.
Why It's Dangerous For Dogs To Eat Gum
You may not think it's a big deal if your dog eats chewing gum, after all, humans swallow gum all the time and it doesn't usually become an issue.
However, xylitol, a common sweetener in sugar-free gum is very poisonous for dogs.
How Much Xylitol Dogs Need To Consume To Get Sick
Xylitol is a low-calorie artificial sweetener found in many brands of chewing gum that is highly toxic to dogs. While not all sugar-free gum is sweetened with Xylitol, if your dog ate a piece of gum off the street there is just no way to know if it includes this toxic ingredient.
Xylitol is so toxic to dogs that just a single stick of gum contains enough of the ingredient to poison a small dog.
Generally speaking, the dose of xylitol needed to cause poisoning in dogs is approximately 0.05 grams per pound of body weight. In most cases, chewing gum contains roughly 0.22-1.0 grams of xylitol per piece! This means that a 10-pound dog could be poisoned by just one piece of gum.
What To Do If Your Dog Eats Gum That Contains Xylitol
If your dog ate gum with Xylitol, they need urgent veterinary care. Take your pup to the nearest emergency animal hospital immediately for urgent care!
What Could Happen To Dogs That Eat Gum With Xylitol
Dogs are the only animals known to have a toxic reaction to xylitol.
Once ingested, xylitol is quickly absorbed into your pup's bloodstream. It only takes 30-60 minutes for the effects of xylitol poisoning to start becoming noticeable. This is why it is imperative to get your dog to the vet immediately if they have eaten gum (or anything else) containing xylitol.
Xylitol ingestion in dogs usually results in extremely low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) caused by a massive release of insulin into the body. Once this occurs symptoms begin arising such as:
- Pale gums
- Generalized weakness
- Loss of consciousness
- Severe liver damage
How Vets Treat Dog for Xylitol Poisoning
There is no antidote for xylitol poisoning, however, your vet will monitor your pup very carefully for at least 12 hours, paying particular attention to your dog's blood sugar levels and liver function, immediately treating any symptoms that develop. Depending on your dog's symptoms, they may require treatment such as an IV glucose solution for up to two days so their blood sugar levels can be stabilized.
Other Products Containing Xylitol
While this blog is discussing gum, it's important for you to note that xylitol is used in a range of other foods and products that your pup may randomly decide to eat like sugar-free candy, peanut butter, toothpaste, chewable vitamins, nasal sprays, sunscreen, deodorant, baby wipes, hair products, and a variety of human medications.
Contact your vet immediately if your dog eats anything that contains or may contain xylitol.
Is It an Emergency If a Dog Eats Gum That Doesn't Have Xylitol?
Not all brands of sugar-free gum contain xylitol. Sugar substitutes like sorbitol, aspartame, and mannitol aren't considered poisonous for dogs.
However, it is important to note that intestinal blockages are another hazard that is associated with dogs eating gum, particularly large pieces. Monitor your dog carefully for the following signs of an intestinal blockage and contact your vet immediately if symptoms arise.
The signs of an intestinal blockage can take a number of days to become evident and may include vomiting, lack of energy, reluctance to play, abdominal pain, constipation, or loss of appetite.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.