Uh oh! You forgot your purse on the floor, and when your dog sniffed around, he found a piece of gum.
You should pray that this situation never arises, but if it does, you’ll need to take swift action. Xylitol, which is found in some gums, is toxic to dogs. If your dog seems to have ingested gum, follow these steps.
My Dog Ate Gum — Should I Be Worried?
What kind of gum your dog ate makes a difference. A major cause for alarm is the possibility that he chewed sugar-free gum. Gum without sugar contains the sugar substitute xylitol, which is also found in many other sugar-free foods but is toxic to dogs.
If the gum wasn’t sugar-free, you might be less worried, but it’s still a good idea to call their vet just in case. It’s important to keep an eye on Fido as the gum works its way through their digestive system.
What is Xylitol?
- Xylitol is a carbohydrate that does not contain alcohol and is therefore classified as a sugar alcohol.
- A sugar substitute with fewer calories, xylitol is becoming increasingly popular. Xylitol has been shown to have antioxidant properties and could potentially boost dental health, as well as protect against ear infections.
- Naturally occurring xylitol can be found in a variety of sources, including plants, animals, and humans.
- There are many products that use xylitol, such as gum and toothpaste. Xylitol is not only used in the kitchen but also as a sweetener at the table.
- The sweetness of xylitol is comparable to that of table sugar, but it has fewer calories, so it is used as a sugar substitute.
Symptoms of Xylitol Poisoning
Dogs of all sizes can be poisoned by as little as one or two sticks of gum containing xylitol.
According to Cummings Veterinary Medical Center, this ingredient can trigger a life-threatening hypoglycemic reaction. For the most extreme cases, liver failure is a possible outcome.
The Food and Drug Administration warns that xylitol can have the following effects in canines:
- Lessening of Activity
- Disruption of normal bodily functions
In addition to its use in gum, xylitol is also a common ingredient in sugar-free candies, dental care products, and rinses.
Vitamin chews, throat sprays, and drops also contain it. Keep your dog away from potentially hazardous items like food, candy, dental products, and medications.
These things should be stored in a high kitchen cabinet, out of reach of even the most inquisitive canine. Keep all of your belongings out of their reach, including bags, purses, coats, and containers.
If you leave a bag or pocket open, your dog will be tempted to poke their nose inside and see what’s inside.
What Happens When Your Dog Eats Gum
You may be concerned about what to do next, what to look out for, and whether or not this is an emergency if your dog has accidentally gotten into your gum package and eaten your gum.
These are reasonable concerns to have, as your dog’s digestive system is fundamentally different from your own, and gum is not something they should be ingesting.
Your Lithia Springs veterinarian may not need to see you unless your dog develops serious symptoms after ingesting gum; however, there is always a chance that your dog will be fine after eating a piece of gum.
The number of products containing xylitol has increased dramatically over the past five years, and as a result, the number of poisonings of pets has increased by more than 100%, as reported by the Pet Poison Hotline.
In 2020, xylitol poisoning calls to the hotline were second only to chocolate poisoning calls.
What to Do If Your Dog Eats Gum
Take your dog to the vet or an emergency animal hospital if you suspect it has consumed xylitol-containing gum.
The veterinarian may take blood from your dog to check for hypoglycemia and/or liver enzyme elevations.
If you are unsure as to whether or not your dog has consumed gum, it is best to seek the advice of a veterinarian.
Since you are well aware that your dog will eat practically anything, it is your duty as their pet parent to ensure that no human foods or other potentially toxic items are within reach. Because of this, it is your responsibility to ensure the wellbeing and safety of your dog.
Determining Whether it’s an Emergency
Gummy candy can be toxic to dogs if they ingest too much of it. If your dog displays any of the following signs of toxicity, you should take them to the vet immediately.
- Difficulty in Taking a Breath
- Pale Gums
Your dog may not be showing any of these symptoms, but you should still consult your veterinarian. They might decide to keep an eye on your dog just to be safe.
Sugar-Free Gum Without Xylitol
Gum without xylitol can cause stomach distress in dogs, especially if they eat a lot of it.
Although this gum may not be toxic, it can cause a number of unpleasant side effects if ingested, including a blockage of the dog’s intestines.
Intestinal blockage in your dog will manifest with drooling, vomiting, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain.
In the future, you may want to switch to gum without Xylitol because dogs are naturally curious.
What to Watch for in the First 30 to 60 Minutes
After discovering that your dog has eaten your gum, you should keep an eye on them for the next 24 hours.
The most severe symptoms typically appear within the first 30 minutes to 1 hour. There is a better chance that your dog will avoid any serious complications if you take him or her to the vet as soon as you notice any symptoms.
Your dog’s digestive system may take anywhere from 10-24 hours to process food.
For this reason, if your dog ingests gum, it will simply pass through his system unprocessed.
Consuming large quantities of gum can lead to intestinal obstruction in your dog.
If your dog eats the gum wrapper or packaging, this will happen. Symptoms of a clog may not become apparent for a few days.
It can be difficult to tell if your dog is ill or has a blockage because both can cause symptoms like vomiting, abdominal tenderness, constipation, a lack of appetite, or strange behavior.
To determine the full scope of the problem, X-rays will be necessary if your vet suspects a blockage. Sometimes the gum can get stuck, and if that happens, surgery may be necessary to free it.
Don’t try to remove the gum if you see it coming out of your dog’s rear end. Your dog’s digestive system could be severely harmed if you do this. It is best to have your dog seen by a vet so that the gum can be safely removed.