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What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Gum?

What Should I Do If My Dog Ate Gum?

Your dog eating gum might seem like a minor issue, but some kinds of chewing gum contain xylitol, which is toxic to dogs. Our Vienna vets explain what you should do if your dog eats gum.

The Dangers of Dogs Eating Gum

People have swallowed gum (accidentally or not) all the time without trouble, so it may not seem like a problem if your dog follows suit. Sometimes, the gum passes through with little incident, but trouble arises when it comes to xylitol, a common sweetener in sugar-free gum that is highly poisonous for dogs.

How Much Xylitol Makes A Dog Sick?

Xylitol is a low-calorie artificial sweetener that is popularly used in many sugar-free brands of gum. While is sweetened with Xylitol, the substance is extremely toxic to dogs - and if your dog ate a piece of gum off the street there is just no way to know whether it contained this harmful ingredient.

Xylitol is so dangerous to dogs that just 1 stick of gum may contain enough of the ingredient to poison a small dog.

Usually, it takes 0.05 grams of xylitol for every pound of a dog's body weight to cause negative effects. Chewing gum typically contains about 0.22-1.0 grams of xylitol per piece, which means that a 10-pound dog could be poisoned by just one piece of gum.

What Happens If My Dog Ate Gum With Xylitol?

Dogs are the only animals known to have a toxic reaction to xylitol, and it is dangerous to them because once ingested xylitol is quickly absorbed into your dog's bloodstream. After that, it can take as little as 30-60 minutes for the effects of xylitol poisoning to start showing. This short turnaround time is why it's essential to get your dog to the vet immediately if they have eaten gum (or anything else) 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:

  • Stumbling
  • Vomiting
  • Pale gums
  • Generalized weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Coma
  • Severe liver damage

How Do Veterinarians Treat Xylitol Poisoning In Dogs?

Although there's no antidote for xylitol poisoning, your veterinarian and vet team will monitor your dog very carefully for a minimum of 12 hours, paying particular attention to blood sugar levels and liver function and immediately treating any symptoms that arise. Your dog's symptoms could also require that they undergo IV glucose solution therapy for up to two days in order to stabilize their blood sugar levels.

Other Things That Contain Xylitol

Although we have so far focused on gum, you should know that xylitol is used in a variety of other foods and products that your dog could consume, including sugar-free candy, peanut butter, toothpaste, chewable vitamins, nasal sprays, sunscreen, deodorant, baby wipes, hair products, and a number of human medications for human use.

If your dog has eaten anything that may contain xylitol, contact your vet for emergency care right away. 

Is My Dog Okay If They Ate Gum Without 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 note that intestinal blockage is another hazard 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.

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.

Contact our vets at Hope Advanced Veterinary Center in Vienna right away if your dog is experiencing a veterinary emergency.

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