As you take your dog for a walk, you look down to see them chewing on some gum they found on the ground. Dogs have a tendency to chew on anything they find, including gum. While this may not seem like a major problem, eating gum can be very dangerous for dogs. Gum often contains sugar, artificial sweeteners, and other ingredients that can be toxic to dogs. The most common and dangerous ingredient found in gum is xylitol, an artificial sweetener which can cause a rapid drop in blood sugar, seizures, liver failure, and even death. If your dog has eaten gum, it is important to seek veterinary care right away. Read below to learn more about the dangers that come with your dog eating chewing gum.
The Dangers of Dogs Eating Chewing Gum
Xylitol is an increasingly common ingredient found in many products, including sugar-free gums, diabetic snacks, candy, baked goods, toothpaste, and more. While xylitol may be a great alternative for those looking for healthier options, it can be very dangerous for dogs. Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol that can cause a rapid drop in blood sugar, seizures, liver failure, and even death if consumed by dogs.
When a dog consumes xylitol, their body imitates a natural sugar intake and their pancreas secretes insulin to regulate blood glucose levels. However, since xylitol contains far fewer calories than sugar, this results in a rapid drop in blood sugar, leading to hypoglycemia. Within minutes, a dog will start to feel nauseous and dizzy, vomiting and staggering as they walk. If not treated promptly, they can collapse and even die. Owners should take precautions to make sure their dogs do not get access to products containing xylitol and should seek veterinary care immediately if they think their dog has consumed it.
Clinical Signs of Xylitol Poisoning
The clinical signs of xylitol poisoning in dogs are primarily caused by the rapid drop in blood sugar, but other gastrointestinal problems may also occur. Symptoms of xylitol poisoning in dogs can include:
- Difficulty walking
- Liver damage
These symptoms come on quickly and can worsen if your dog does not receive prompt medical care. Call your vet and Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 if you have any questions or concerns.
Treatment for Xylitol Poisoning
If you suspect or notice your dog ate chewing gum, it is important to take them to the vet immediately and call Pet Poison Helpline® for prompt medical advice. Your vet may induce vomiting to eliminate the gum from your dog’s system and may also administer IV fluids to address dehydration. Liver monitoring tests may also be carried out to check for any potential liver damage.