Bubble gum comes in different types and variants and are flavored with natural or synthetic flavors. Some contain sugar, while others are sugar-free. Sugar-free bubble gum may either use sugar alcohols, such as xylitol, or artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, to add taste. With the wide variety available, bubble gum is a popular product for many people.
Bubble gum serves many purposes other than just keeping our mouths busy. They stimulate saliva production, thus enhancing digestion. Sugar-free gum helps improve dental health, and there have been reports of chewing gum boosting metabolism. While these benefits are good for humans, they are not so for our dogs. If your dog ate bubble gum it could be potentially life-threatening. Learn more about the potential dangers of bubble gum for dogs by reading below.
Why is Bubble Gum Unsafe for Dogs?
As major chewing gum brands continually swap sugar for sugar-free products, xylitol has replaced sugar in most bubble gums on the market. Xylitol is dangerous to dogs, as it causes a rapid reduction in blood sugar. Gums with sugar are not completely safe either. They can potentially cause intestinal blockage and their high sugar content is not ideal for pets.
However, xylitol bubble gums are more poisonous to dogs because of how our furry companions react to them. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol and when a dog ingests sugar-free gum, it imitates natural sugar intake, so the pancreas secretes insulin to regulate blood glucose levels. Since xylitol contains far fewer calories than sugar, this leads to a massive drop in blood sugar, causing hypoglycemia. Within a few minutes of ingestion, the animal starts to feel nauseous and dizzy, vomiting and staggering as they walk. If not promptly attended to, they can collapse and die.
Clinical Signs of Xylitol Poisoning
Many of the clinical signs of xylitol poisoning occur as a result of hypoglycemia, but other gastrointestinal problems may also arise. Symptoms generally include the following:
- Difficulty walking
- Liver failure
These symptoms can become worse if your dog does not receive timely medical care. Call your vet and Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 if you have any questions or concerns.
Treatment of Bubble Gum Poisoning in Dogs
Firstly, your veterinarian may have to decontaminate your dog by inducing vomiting. After that, your vet may order a glucose test to measure sugar levels. Subsequently, dextrose intravenous fluids are administered to improve blood sugar levels. Liver monitoring tests may also accompany treatment to protect the liver from damage. If you suspect or notice your dog has been chewing on bubble gum, seek a veterinary clinic immediately or call Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 for prompt online medical advice.