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My Dog Ate Gum: Is That Dangerous?

Just a single, small piece of gum can cause serious issues for your pup, especially if it contains xylitol. Xylitol is present in many types of sugar-free gum as well as other common foods and substances. Here, our vets in Brooklyn talk about the dangers of xylitol and what to do if your dog ate chewing gum.

My dog ate chewing gum, why is this dangerous?

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.

Is there a certain amount of xylitol needed to make a dog 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 you witnessed your dog eat any type of gum that you don't know the ingredients for or if your dog ate gum that you know contains xylitol they should be seen by a vet right away. Please head to your nearest animal emergency hospital for urgent care!

Emergency Veterinary Care

What happens if a dog eats gum and it contains xylitol?

Dogs are currently the only animal that has been noted to react to xylitol. 

If your dog ate gum or anything else that contains xylitol, it will be absorbed into the bloodstream very quickly. Your dog will begin to show the signs of xylitol poisoning within 30 to 60 minutes. 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:

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

What to Do if My Dog Ate Gum

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 restore their blood sugar levels.

Do other foods 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.

If you are worried that your dog may have eaten anything at all that may contain xylitol you should contact your vet right away and bring your dog in for an exam.

Should I still worry if my dog ate gum that doesn't have xylitol?

It's important to know that some brands of sugar-free gum will contain sweeteners other than xylitol. Sugar substitutes such as sorbitol, aspartame, and mannitol are not poisonous for dogs.

You should keep in mind that xylitol isn't the only danger with dogs though, as large pieces of gum can become lodged in their intestines causing a 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.

If you witnessed your dog eating gum or any other substance that you know contains xylitol, please contact our vets in Brooklyn right away.

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