Gum can be found in many places, whether it’s discarded on the ground outside, sitting in your home, or thrown out in the trash. This makes it pretty accessible to your dog, as they’re curious by nature. If your dog eats a piece of gum from the sidewalk you may not notice or just brush it off because you don’t know the dangers. Gum can be quite hazardous to dogs and cause harmful symptoms. 

Why Is Gum Dangerous to Dogs? 

Most sugar-free gums contain an ingredient called xylitol which is toxic to dogs. Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol that is found in sugar-free gum, candy, deodorant, peanut butter, and more. It’s been used as a sugar substitute for many years, due to its low glycemic index and dental plaque-fighting qualities, has many non-sweetening properties as well, so its popularity has significantly increased in the last ten years. While the use of xylitol is increasing, so are the risks of your pup ingesting it. 

Clinical Signs of Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs 

High levels of xylitol can induce severe drops in blood sugar, as soon as 10 to 60 minutes after eating. This can occur due to the quick release of insulin caused by xylitol consumption. Alongside low blood sugar, xylitol toxicity can induce the following symptoms: 

  • Vomiting 
  • Inability to walk/stand or lack of coordination 
  • Lethargy or weakness 
  • Seizures 
  • Liver failure 

How To Treat Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs 

Call your vet and Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 if you believe your dog has ingested xylitol. The team of experts can help you determine if the dosage was deadly or not and what the next steps need to be. It is best to bring your dog to a vet clinic immediately so your dog can be fully looked over and treated properly. Your dog may receive IV fluids to address dehydration and other symptoms. Always watch over and know what your dog is eating to prevent any deadly, and potentially preventable, situations from occurring.