Taking your dog for a walk or to the dog park is a great way for them to get exercise. If you’re out for a stroll or running around a park, your dog may sniff around and find a piece of gum. Fortunately, gum that has already been chewed has little concern, however, if it is a new piece of gum, little do you and your pup know that eating that gum may put them in a dire situation. Xylitol, the sweetener found in sugar-free gum, is highly toxic to dogs and can cause serious harm if ingested. So, if your pup has gotten their paws on some sugar-free gum, it’s best to take them to the vet as soon as possible. 

Why is Xylitol Dangerous to Dogs? 

As sugar-free products and goods become more popular, the risk of your dog encountering the sugar alternative, xylitol, is only increasing. Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol found in a variety of products, such as candy, sugar-free gum, diabetic snacks, human toothpaste, and more. If your pup has ingested any product containing xylitol, it’s important to take them to the vet right away. Xylitol is rapidly absorbed after it is ingested and imitates a natural sugar intake which triggers the pancreas to produce insulin. This leads to a life-threatening drop in blood sugar levels, causing hypoglycemia. If a large enough dose is consumed, it can lead to liver failure and if left untreated, fatality can occur.  

Clinical Signs of Xylitol Poisoning 

Xylitol poisoning can cause a range of symptoms, but the most common of which are a result of a sudden drop in blood sugar levels. However, gastrointestinal issues can also arise. Symptoms to look out for include:  

  • Vomiting 
  • Difficulty walking 
  • Tremors 
  • Seizures 
  • Liver damage 
  • Lethargy 

These symptoms come on quickly and can worsen if your dog does not receive prompt medical care. Call Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 if you have any questions or concerns about xylitol poisoning. 

Treatment for Xylitol Poisoning 

If you think your pup has ingested sugar-free gum, it’s important to take them to the vet right away. Your vet may induce vomiting to decontaminate the system, as well as administering IV fluids to address dehydration. Liver monitoring tests may also be necessary to detect any possible liver damage. If you suspect your dog has been chewing on gum, don’t wait – contact Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 for immediate medical help.