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 Carrollton veterinarians explain what to do.
The Dangers of Dogs Eating Gum
It seems like it shouldn't be a big deal if your dog happens to eat chewing gum, after all, people swallow gum all the time and it rarely becomes a problem.
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?
Xylitol is a low-calorie artificial sweetener that is highly toxic to dogs and is present in many brands of chewing gum. While not all sugar-free gum contains Xylitol, there's no way to tell if your dog ate a piece of 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 my 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.
Once your dog consumes xylitol, it is rapidly absorbed into their bloodstream. Xylitol poisoning symptoms typically appear within a relatively short time frame of 30-60 minutes. It is important to take your dog to the vet immediately if they have consumed gum or any other product containing xylitol.
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?
In cases of xylitol poisoning, there is currently no known antidote. However, your veterinarian will provide close monitoring for your dog for a minimum of 12 hours. They will pay careful attention to your dog's blood sugar levels and liver function, and will administer appropriate treatment for any symptoms that may occur. Treatment for your dog's symptoms may involve administering an IV glucose solution for a maximum of two days in order to restore their blood sugar levels to a normal range.
What other things contain xylitol?
This blog focuses on gum, but it's crucial to keep in mind that xylitol can be found in many other foods and products that your dog might consume. These include sugar-free candy, peanut butter, toothpaste, chewable vitamins, nasal sprays, sunscreen, deodorant, baby wipes, hair products, and various human medications.
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.
It is crucial to remember that dogs consuming gum, particularly in large pieces, can lead to intestinal blockage. If you notice any of the above signs in your dog, it is important to contact your veterinarian immediately.
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.