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 Murfreesboro 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 found in many brands of chewing gum. While not all sugar-free gum contains Xylitol, there's no way of knowing whether your dog ate a piece of gum off 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.
Xylitol is quickly absorbed into your dog's bloodstream once consumed. The effects of xylitol poisoning take only 30-60 minutes to manifest. This is why, if your dog has eaten xylitol-containing gum (or anything else), you should take them to the vet right away.
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?
Although there is no antidote for xylitol poisoning, your veterinarian will closely monitor your dog for at least 12 hours, paying close attention to his blood sugar levels and liver function, and treating any symptoms that arise. Depending on your dog's symptoms, treatment may include an IV glucose solution for up to two days to bring their blood sugar levels back to normal.
What other things contain xylitol?
While this blog is about gum, it's important to remember that xylitol is also found in a variety of other foods and products that your dog might eat at any time, including 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 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's important to keep in mind that dogs eating gum, especially large pieces, can cause intestinal blockage. If your dog exhibits any of the following signs of an intestinal blockage, contact your veterinarian right away.
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.