Out on a date or forgot to brush your teeth? Humans chew gum on a regular basis to freshen their breath, but can dogs do the same? Dogs cannot eat gum, as it is extremely dangerous for them. If you’re out for a walk with your pup and they pick up a piece of gum on the ground, they can be potentially poisoned. Sugar-free gum contains xylitol, a sugar-free sweetener that is highly toxic to dogs if ingested. If your dog has gotten their paws on sugar-free gum, take them to the veterinary clinic right away. Doing so can help prevent serious health issues and ensure your pup’s safety. 

Dangers of Xylitol 

The popularity of sugar-free candies and products are on the rise. There is an increased chance of your dog encountering xylitol. Xylitol is a sugar substitute found in many products. Chemically, it’s a sugar alcohol found in many products, including candy, sugar-free gum, diabetic snacks, human toothpaste, etc. Xylitol is quickly absorbed after ingestion and mimics a natural sugar intake, which causes the pancreas to produce insulin. This leads to a dangerous drop in blood sugar levels, resulting in hypoglycemia. If your dog consumes a lot of xylitol, it can lead to liver failure and even death if left untreated. Recent research suggests that already chewed sugar-free gum has significantly less xylitol left in it, but to be safe contact Pet Poison Helpline® and your veterinarian for medical advice.  

Symptoms of Xylitol Poisoning 

Xylitol poisoning has a wide range of symptoms. Xylitol may cause a life-threatening drop in blood sugar as well as liver damage in dogs. Other gastrointestinal issues can also arise from xylitol poisoning. Other common symptoms to look out for include: 

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

These symptoms occur quickly and can worsen fast if left untreated.  


If you think your pup ate sugar-free gum or a similar product, you must act fast. Your dog has to be immediately taken to a veterinary clinic. Review the symptoms listed above to check for xylitol poisoning. Symptoms can occur quickly and worsen significantly if left untreated. The veterinarian may induce vomiting to decontaminate the system. IV fluids may be used to address dehydration. Liver damage can be detected using liver monitoring tests. If you think that your dog has eaten gum, don’t wait – contact Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 for life-saving medical advice.