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My Dog Ate Gum: Is That Dangerous?

Most dogs love to eat everything they can get into. Unfortunately, sometimes they eat food or substances that they shouldn't, such as chewing gum. Our Turlock vets explain why gum is toxic to dogs and what you should do if you find that your dog ate gum in this post. 

Why is Gum Dangerous for Dogs to Eat? 

Something we may not consider is how people are able to digest some substances without problems, but these same substances may be toxic to our four-legged friends. Gum is one of these substances. 

Many popular brands of chewing gum are sugar-free. these types of gum contain sweeteners like xylitol, which is very toxic for dogs. 

How Much Xylitol Does it Take for my Dog to Have a Serious Reaction?

The low-calorie artificial sweetener xylitol is very poisonous for dogs and is found in many brands of chewing gum. Though not all sugar-free gum contains xylitol, there's no way to know if, for instance, your dog ate a piece of gum off the street. 

Dogs are so highly sensitive to xylitol that a small dog could easily be enough to kill a small dog. Generally, 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, which means that a single piece of gum can poison a 10-pound dog. 

What Should I Do If My Dug Ate Gum Containing Xylitol?

If your dog has eaten gum containing xylitol, urgent veterinary care is needed. Please take your dog 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 we're aware of that have a toxic reaction to xylitol. Your dog's bloodstream will absorb xylitol quickly once your pup has consumed gum containing this ingredient. It only takes between 30-60 minutes for xylitol poisoning to manifest. This is why you should take your dog to a veterinarian right away if they've eaten gum (or anything else) containing xylitol. 

Dogs that have ingested xylitol typically suffer from the effects of extremely low blood sugar (hypogylcemia) caused by a massive release of insulin into the body. Once this happens, many symptoms such as the following can begin to arise:

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

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.

Has your dog eaten gum containing xylitol or another unsafe substance? Contact our vets in Turlock today for urgent medical care. 

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