My Dog Ate Gum. Should I be Worried?

Dogs will eat anything that smells even mildly sweet to them if they find it lying around. Sometimes, however, the things they find might not be healthy for them and can cause medical issues. Is that the case with gum? Should you worry if your dog eats gum? Let’s see!

Can Dogs Eat Gum?

Despite it being refreshing, especially to us, the gum is not the safest thing your pup can eat. Some types of gum contain dangerous ingredients that can put your dog in peril. One such ingredient is xylitol.

It is an artificial sweetener used instead of sugar. It is highly toxic to dogs and is known to cause hypoglycemic reactions that can cause liver failure or anemia.

Gums that don’t use the sweetener mostly use sugar. High sugar levels might not have dangerous effects right away, but if Fido gets used to eating gum, it can slowly accumulate in their bodies. Too much sugar can lead to weight gain in dogs and even diabetes.

What To Do If My Dog Ate Gum?

Sometimes, no matter how much you monitor your dog, they still end up doing something harmful. You may have turned your attention away for a second, only for you to turn around and see your dog chewing some gum. What do you do in this situation?

The first step you should take is to determine the type of gum they ate and identify the ingredients used. If it contains sugar and not xylitol, your pup will be fine. They might have diarrhea for a while, especially if they ate a large chunk, but they will be fine.

You should, however, still monitor them until the gum passes, as it can cause intestinal blockage. The symptoms that might signify intestinal blockage are:

  • Drooling
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain

Talk to your vet when you see these symptoms, as an untreated intestinal blockage can be fatal. The same effect might occur if your dog eats sugar-free gum that doesn’t contain xylitol. Other sweeteners that might be used are mannitol, sorbitol, and aspartame. These are not harmful to them, and their complications are the same as those you would get from sugary gum.

On the other hand, if your pup eats gum with xylitol, you will have to act fast. Call poison control or your vet to find out what to do. The vet might suggest induced vomiting using hydrogen peroxide solution if they ate the gum in the past half hour.

Don’t try to induce the vomiting yourself; follow your vet’s instructions or find the nearest veterinary clinic. You should take these actions before thirty minutes pass; this is the grace window where you have the best chance of saving your dog.

If it has been more than half an hour since they ate the gum, or if you don’t know when exactly your dog ingested the gum, go to the vet immediately. They will take the necessary treatment to try and save your dog’s life.

Xylitol Poisoning

Xylitol is dangerous for dogs, even in small amounts. An unchewed piece of gum has enough xylitol to be fatal to a dog weighing around 10 pounds. Chewed gum might contain fewer traces of the sweetener, but it can still be dangerous.

One piece of gum or breath mint has between 0.22-1.0 grams of xylitol. 50 milligrams per pound of body weight of xylitol is poisonous to dogs. Even in small amounts, xylitol can cause dose-dependent insulin release, leading to hypoglycemia.

Carry the wrapper with you if your dog eats your gum and let the vet determine how much of the sweetener was in it. If they ate gum found on the road and you try induced vomiting, you can take the gum they throw up to the vet for further analysis.

Sometimes, your vet might decide to begin treatment even before getting a concrete diagnosis. They will use your dog’s symptoms to conclude. This fast action can counter any symptoms from the sweetener even if they are unsure of the amount ingested.

Symptoms Of Xylitol Poisoning

Xylitol poisoning is fast-acting and can take effect within 10 – 30 minutes after ingestion. Knowing the signs can help you take proper action.

Look for symptoms like:

  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty standing/walking
  • Lethargy
  • Lack of coordination
  • Tremors
  • Depression
  • Liver failure
  • Coma
  • Seizure

Treating Xylitol Poisoning

Unlike most poisoning cases, xylitol doesn’t have an antidote. Your dog might be put on treatments like intravenous fluids, sugar supplementation, and liver-protective medications to assist them. Your vet can start these immediately to reverse xylitol’s toxicity and stop further development of more severe problems.

They will also test your dog’s potassium and blood glucose levels to determine how much xylitol they ate and how far the toxicity has spread. Your dog will also most likely be hospitalized, allowing the vet to monitor their blood sugar and administrate medication.

The vet will do more blood work to check the liver functions and blood sugar to ensure they stay normal. They can also give your dog dextrose (glucose) and liver protectants to ensure it fights the xylitol and gets better.

Recovery

The prognosis is good for dogs who received treatment early on before clinical signs of the poisoning started. Quickly reversing uncomplicated hypoglycemia gives you better odds of a full recovery.

However, the prognosis is poor if there is a bleeding disorder, liver failure, or the dog falls into a coma. This is why you need to act as fast as possible to give your dog better chances of recovering.

Conclusion

Keep your dog away from anything that contains xylitol. If any products you use contain the sweetener, store them in places they cannot reach. Baked goods, mouthwash, candy, sugar-free gum, and syrup may contain xylitol. Limit your dog’s access to these things to prevent xylitol poisoning.

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