Although your dog eating gum might not seem like a big deal, some chewing gums are toxic to dogs. If your dog eats gum, our Ruckersville veterinarians explain what to do.

The Dangers of Dogs Eating Gum

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 companions, xylitol, a common sweetener in sugar-free gum, is highly poisonous for dogs.

How much Xylitol would my dog need to eat to get 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.

Poisoning in dogs requires approximately 0.05 grams of xylitol per pound of body weight. Each chewing gum contains approximately 0.22-1.0 grams of xylitol! This means that a single 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!

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

Dogs are the only animals known to have a toxic reaction to xylitol.

Once consumed, xylitol enters your dog's bloodstream quickly. The symptoms of xylitol poisoning appear within 30-60 minutes. This is why, if your dog has consumed xylitol-containing gum (or anything else), you should take them to the vet as soon as possible.

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

How will the vet treat my dog for xylitol poisoning?

Although there is no cure for xylitol poisoning, your veterinarian will closely monitor your dog for at least 12 hours, closely monitoring his blood sugar levels and liver function and treating any symptoms that arise. Depending on the severity of your dog's symptoms, treatment may include an IV glucose solution for up to two days to restore normal blood sugar levels.

What other things contain xylitol?

While this blog is about gum, it's important to remember that xylitol is also present in a variety of other foods and products that your dog may consume at any time, such as 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.

It's important to remember, however, that dogs eating gum, especially large pieces, can cause intestinal blockage. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your dog exhibits any of the following signs of an intestinal blockage.

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.

Contact our vets at Ruckersville Animal Hospital in Ruckersville right away if your dog requires urgent veterinary care.