Although your dog eating gum might not seem like a big deal, some chewing gums are toxic to dogs. If your dog eats gum, our West Salem veterinarians explain what to do.
The Dangers of Dogs Eating Gum
It seems like it shouldn't be a big deal if your dog ingests chewing gum; after all, humans swallow gum on a regular basis and it rarely causes problems.
The trouble is that when it comes to our canine companion xylitol, a common sweetener in sugar-free gum is highly poisonous for dogs.
How much Xylitol would my dog need to eat to get sick?
Numerous brands of chewing gum contain xylitol, a low-calorie artificial sweetener that is highly toxic to dogs. Although not all sugar-free gum contains Xylitol, there is no way to tell if your dog ate gum from the street.
Dogs are so sensitive to xylitol that a single stick of gum could be enough to kill a small dog.
In general, about 0.05 grams of xylitol per pound of body weight is required to cause poisoning in dogs. Each piece of chewing gum contains about 0.22-1.0 grams of xylitol! This means that a single piece of gum could poison a 10-pound dog.
What to do if a dog ate gum containing xylitol?
If so, urgent veterinary care is required. Please head to your nearest animal emergency hospital for urgent care!
What happens if a dog eats gum with Xylitol in it?
Dogs are the only animals known to have a toxic reaction to xylitol.
After consumption, xylitol is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream of your dog. Only 30 to 60 minutes are required for the onset of xylitol poisoning symptoms. If your dog has ingested gum containing xylitol (or any other substance), you should immediately take them to the vet.
Xylitol ingestion in dogs typically leads to extremely low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) caused by a massive release of insulin into the body. Once this occurs symptoms begin to arise such as:
- Pale gums
- Generalized weakness
- Loss of consciousness
- Severe liver damage
How will the vet treat my dog for xylitol poisoning?
Even though there is no antidote for xylitol poisoning, your veterinarian will closely monitor your dog for at least 12 hours, closely monitoring his blood sugar levels and liver function, and treating any symptoms that develop. Depending on your dog's symptoms, he or she may receive an intravenous glucose solution for up to two days to restore normal blood sugar levels.
What other things contain xylitol?
While this blog is about gum, it is important to remember that xylitol is also present in a variety of other foods and products that your dog may consume at any time, including sugar-free candy, peanut butter, toothpaste, chewable vitamins, nasal sprays, sunscreen, deodorant, baby wipes, and hair products.
Contact your vet immediately if your dog eats anything containing xylitol, or that may contain this substance.
Is it still an emergency if my dog ate gum that doesn't contain xylitol?
Not all brands of sugar-free gum contain xylitol. Sugar substitutes such as sorbitol, aspartame, and mannitol are not considered to be poisonous for dogs.
However, it is important to remember that dogs consuming gum, particularly large pieces, can cause intestinal obstruction. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your dog displays any of the following symptoms of intestinal obstruction.
Signs of an intestinal blockage can take several 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.