While you may not be initially concerned if your dog eats some gum, you should be aware that various types of gum are actually toxic to dogs. Our Orange County vets talk about why gum is unsafe for dogs and what you should do if your dog ate gum.
What Makes it Dangerous if Your Dog Ate Gum?
If you happen to notice one day that your dog ate gum, you may not be concerned initially, there is no danger to humans after all. Unfortunately, this is not the case for our canine companions.
May of the common chewed brands of gum are sugar-free and these types of gum contain sweeteners such as xylitol which is highly poisonous to dogs.
How much Xylitol does it take to make a dog sick?
Xylitol is a low-calorie artificial sweetener that is highly poisonous to dogs and is a commonly used ingredient in chewing gum. While not all sugar-free gum is sweetened with Xylitol, there is no way of knowing what brand it is if your dog ate gum while you were out for a walk.
Xylitol is so toxic to dogs that it can take as little as a single piece of gum to poison a small-sized dog.
Generally speaking, the dose of xylitol required to cause poisoning in dogs is about 0.05 grams per pound of body weight. Chewing gum typically contains about 0.22-1.0 gram of xylitol per piece! This means that a 10-pound dog could be poisoned by just one piece of gum.
What should I do if my dog ate gum with xylitol?
If so urgent veterinary care is required. Please head to your nearest animal emergency hospital for urgent care!
What are the symptoms if my dog ate gum with Xylitol in it?
The only animal that is known to have a negative reaction to xylitol is dogs.
Once ingested, it takes as little as 30-60 minutes for the toxic effects to begin to show in your dog. This makes it incredibly important to bring your dog to the vet immediately if they ate gum or any other substance that could potentially contain 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
What is the treatment for a dog with xylitol poisoning?
While there is nothing that your vet can provide your dog to cure xylitol poisoning, your vet will monitor your dog very carefully for at least 12 hours, paying particular attention to your pup's blood sugar levels and liver function, immediately treating any symptoms that arise. Depending on your dog's symptoms they may require treatment including an IV glucose solution for up to two days in order to stabilize their blood sugar levels.
What other substances contain xylitol?
While gum may be the most common way that dogs ingest xylitol, it is important to be aware that xylitol is used in various other foods and products that your dog could randomly decide to eat such as sugar-free candy, peanut butter, toothpaste, chewable vitamins, nasal sprays, sunscreen, deodorant, baby wipes, hair products, and a number of medications for human use.
Contact your vet immediately if your dog eats anything containing xylitol or any other substance that could cause potential complications.
If my dog ate gum that doesn't contain xylitol should I still be concerned?
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.
You should also be aware that the ingredients are not the only concern if your dog ate gum, there is also the worry of the potential for intestinal blockages. 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.