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Help, My Dog Ate Gum! Is that Dangerous?

While it may not appear to be a significant issue, it's important to note that some chewing gums can be toxic to dogs when ingested. If your dog consumes gum, our veterinarians at Mooresville will guide you through the necessary steps to take.

The Dangers of Dogs Eating Gum

Eating chewing gum might not appear to be a big deal if your dog does it, considering that people swallow gum all the time with few issues. However, the trouble lies in the fact that xylitol, a common sweetener in sugar-free gum, is highly poisonous for dogs, especially regarding our canine companions.

How much xylitol would my dog need to eat to get sick?

Xylitol poses a significant threat to dogs as it is a low-calorie artificial sweetener commonly found in many chewing gum brands. While not all sugar-free gum includes xylitol, there's no surefire way to determine whether your dog has consumed discarded gum.

Dogs exhibit extreme sensitivity to xylitol, to the extent that a single stick of gum could potentially prove fatal for a small dog.

Generally, dog poisoning requires approximately 0.05 grams of xylitol per pound of body weight. It's important to note that each piece of chewing gum contains approximately 0.22-1.0 grams of xylitol! Consequently, even a solitary piece of gum has the potential to 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!

Emergency Vets in the Mooresville Area

What happens if a dog eats gum with xylitol in it?

Dogs are the only animals known to have a toxic reaction to xylitol. When your dog consumes xylitol, it quickly enters their bloodstream. Xylitol poisoning symptoms manifest within just 30-60 minutes.

If your dog has ingested xylitol-containing gum or any other xylitol-containing substance, you should promptly take them to the vet.

Xylitol ingestion in dogs typically results in a significant release of insulin into the body, leading to extremely low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Once this happens, symptoms such as:

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

How will the vet treat my dog for xylitol poisoning?

While there is no antidote for xylitol poisoning, your veterinarian will closely monitor your dog for at least 12 hours, closely monitoring their blood sugar levels and liver function, and promptly treating any arising symptoms. Depending on your dog's symptoms, the treatment may involve administering an IV glucose solution for up to two days to restore their blood sugar levels to normal.

What other things contain xylitol?

This blog discusses gum, but it's crucial to remember that xylitol also appears in various other foods and products your dog might consume at any moment. These include sugar-free candy, peanut butter, toothpaste, chewable vitamins, nasal sprays, sunscreen, deodorant, baby wipes, hair products, and various human medications.

If your dog ingests anything containing xylitol or potentially containing this substance, promptly contact your vet.

Is it still an emergency if my dog eats gum that doesn't contain xylitol?

Not all brands of sugar-free gum contain xylitol. Sugar substitutes like sorbitol, aspartame, and mannitol do not pose a poison risk to dogs.

However, it's crucial to remember that dogs consuming gum, particularly in large pieces, can lead to intestinal blockage. If your dog shows any of the following symptoms of an intestinal blockage, reach out to your veterinarian immediately.

Symptoms of an intestinal blockage may take several days to manifest and can comprise vomiting, diminished energy, hesitance to engage in play, abdominal discomfort, constipation, or a decreased 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 Lake Norman at Mooresville Animal Hospital in Mooresville right away if your dog requires urgent veterinary care.

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