Although it might not seem like a huge concern if your dog eats gum, several kinds of chewing gum are hazardous to dogs. If your dog consumes gum, our Franklin veterinarians advise what you should do.
The Dangers of Dogs Eating Gum
If your dog eats chewing gum, it shouldn’t seem to be a major worry; after all, people swallow gum all the time, and it rarely causes problems.
The problem is that xylitol, a common sweetener in sugar-free gum, is extremely deadly to dogs, which are our furry friends.
How much Xylitol would my dog need to eat to get sick?
Many kinds of chewing gum include xylitol, a low-calorie artificial sweetener that is extremely hazardous to dogs. Although not all sugar-free gum is sweetened with Xylitol, there is simply no way to determine if your dog ate any gum from the street if it did.
One stick of gum may contain enough of the chemical to harm a tiny dog because xylitol is so toxic to canines.
Typically, it takes roughly 0.05 grams of xylitol per pound of body weight for dogs to get poisoned. Each piece of chewing gum normally contains between 0.2 and 1.0 grams of xylitol! This implies that one piece of gum may poison a 10-pound dog.
Does eaten gum contain xylitol still?
The average mass of the xylitol pieces was 7.8 mg, with a range of 5.3 to 10.3 mg. An average of 4% of the original xylitol in a fresh gum stick is retained after 5 minutes of chewing gum.
Can a dog live after chewing gum?
Dogs are poisoned by chocolate, as most pet owners are aware, but many pet owners are unaware of a poison that is even deadlier. A sugar substitute called xylitol, which is present in sugar-free gum and candies, is particularly harmful to dogs. Each piece of sugar-free gum has enough xylitol in it to fatally poison a small dog. The toxin takes effect immediately and can swiftly lead to convulsions and total liver failure.
Xylitol can make dogs sick in as little as 10 minutes after consumption. Some canines, nevertheless, take a few days or longer to exhibit symptoms of disease. Call your veterinarian right away if you believe your dog may have consumed even a single piece of sugar-free gum. The sooner your pet receives urgent veterinarian care, the better his chances of making a full recovery are. To ensure that your veterinarian is aware of the precise components, bring the container of sugar-free gum with you.
Ingestion of xylitol symptoms:
Vomiting is frequently the initial symptom of xylitol toxicity, which eventually develops into hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. By tricking the dog’s pancreas into secreting more insulin, the xylitol lowers blood sugar levels. Dogs who suffer hypoglycemia may shake, act intoxicated, or have convulsions. Hypoglycemia is a medical emergency that requires prompt attention. Call your veterinarian for immediate advice if you believe your dog may have hypoglycemia as a result of eating sugar-free gum.
Xylitol not only causes hypoglycemia but also abrupt liver failure. The actual cause of liver failure is unknown, although xylitol use can result in the liver entirely ceasing to function 12 to 72 hours after consumption. Although the liver can recover from the poisoning, dogs require close monitoring, extensive care, and even blood transfusions.
The harmful effects of xylitol have no specific treatment. The liver can be supported and hypoglycemia can be avoided by IV fluids. Dogs who have liver failure are actively treated with hepatic support drugs and occasionally transfusions. Larger doses of xylitol in dogs often result in death, but quick medical care enhances the likelihood that your pet will recover.
Make absolutely certain that your dog does not have access to any sugar-free candy or gum if you own a dog. In my experience as a veterinarian in private practice, unintentional consumption accounts for the majority of xylitol toxicity cases. Typically, a dog would have searched through the owner’s purse and discovered a pack of gum. I don’t have any sugar-free sweets or gum because I have pets, and I don’t want them to accidentally eat it. Think about the dangers, store your gum safely, or choose for a non-sugar free alternative.
What ought I to do if my dog ingested gum?
Call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline right away if you believe your dog may have consumed sugar-free gum or any other product containing xylitol (800-213-6680).
Unless specifically instructed to do so by your veterinarian, avoid making your dog puke or giving him anything by mouth. Your dog needs to receive treatment as soon as possible. Vomiting can exacerbate hypoglycemia symptoms in dogs who are already showing them.
The Merck Veterinary Manual states that if quick treatment is obtained, the prognosis for simple hypoglycemia is favorable. In most cases, little increases in liver enzyme levels go away in a few days. Nevertheless, xylitol poisoning can be lethal if veterinary help is delayed.
There is currently no treatment for xylitol poisoning. Your dog’s blood sugar levels and liver function will often be monitored by your veterinarian for at least 12 hours. If the dog’s blood sugar levels continue to be excessively low, he may need to get therapy for one to two days with an IV glucose solution.
Can a dog consume xylitol and live?
A common sugar alternative is a naturally occurring molecule called xylitol. It is a sugar alcohol chemically and naturally occurs in several fruits and vegetables, including berries, plums, corn, oats, mushrooms, lettuce, and trees.
The majority of xylitol used commercially is taken from birch trees or maize fiber. Although it has been used as a sugar alternative for many years, due to its low glycemic index and dental plaque-fighting abilities, its popularity has significantly expanded in the last ten years.
Where is xylitol found?
Xylitol is produced as a white powder that resembles sugar in both appearance and flavor. It has received approval for usage in several nations’ medications, food additives, and oral care items. The quantity and variety of goods containing xylitol have significantly expanded in recent years. Examples of items include toothpaste, mouthwash, sugar-free gum, sweets, breath mints, baked goods, peanut butter, pudding snacks, cough syrup, chewable or gummy vitamins, and over-the-counter medicines. Additionally, xylitol is becoming more prevalent in over-the-counter nasal sprays, skin care items, laxatives, digestive aids, allergy meds, dry mouth lozenges, and sleep aids for people. This is especially true of prescription drugs designed as rapid dissolve tablets or liquids.
Why is xylitol increasing in popularity and use?
While sucrose is sweeter than xylitol, it only has around two-thirds as many calories. As a sugar alternative, it ranks lower on the glycemic index than glucose, a measure that rates foods high in carbohydrates according to how much they boost blood sugar levels. Because it has a reduced glycemic index, xylitol is advantageous for diabetics and people following low-carbohydrate diets.
Research has revealed that xylitol promotes saliva production, inhibits dental caries, and aids in the prevention of plaque buildup when it comes to oral health.
How safe is xylitol?
Although most sugar alcohols have a minor laxative effect when consumed in high quantities or when initially introduced to a diet, xylitol is safe for usage in humans. This happens as a result of xylitol’s ability to draw water into the intestines or its ability to be fermented by bacterial species found there.
Dogs are highly poisonous to xylitol. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure, and even death in dogs can be brought on by even trace levels of xylitol.
Why is xylitol toxic to dogs?
The amount of blood sugar is regulated in both humans and dogs by the pancreas’ secretion of insulin. In people, xylitol does not cause the pancreas to release more insulin. However, xylitol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream when consumed by dogs, which causes a powerful release of insulin from the pancreas. This quick insulin release results in a severe drop in blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which can happen as soon as 10 to 60 minutes after eating. Hypoglycemia can be fatal if left untreated. Uncertainty surrounds the mechanism by which xylitol can result in liver failure in dogs.
How much xylitol is poisonous to a dog?
Because different goods contain different levels of xylitol, different amounts of a product must be consumed before toxicity is anticipated. In general, xylitol causes hypoglycemia at lower dosages but liver failure at greater ones. The amount of xylitol in gum varies from brand to brand and even from flavor to flavor within a same brand. While other kinds of gum have higher concentrations, some varieties have lower quantities of xylitol. It’s critical to determine whether a dangerous amount of xylitol has been consumed because different brands and flavors of gum have a wide variety of xylitol. Although incidents of xylitol poisoning from other sources, like as supplements and baked goods, are on the rise, the most frequent source of xylitol poisoning that Pet Poison Helpline* receives calls about is sugar-free gum. Dogs consuming xylitol were the subject of 5,846 calls to Pet Poison Helpline in 2020.
What should I do if my dog eats something containing xylitol?
Unless specifically instructed to do so by your veterinarian, avoid making your dog puke or giving him anything by mouth. Your dog needs to receive treatment as soon as possible. The clinical indications of some dogs’ hypoglycemia may get worse if vomiting is induced.
What are the signs of xylitol poisoning?
Initial symptoms of xylitol poisoning might appear within an hour of intake and are often brought on by hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Any or all of the following could be indications of low blood sugar:
- Inability to balance properly or having trouble standing or walking
- Lethargy, sluggishness, or weakness
In severe circumstances, the dog could experience liver failure or seizures. Dogs who get liver failure due to xylitol overdose may or may not first exhibit hypoglycemic symptoms.
How is xylitol poisoning diagnosed?
If there are symptoms of hypoglycemia or liver failure and you know or believe that the dog consumed something containing xylitol, you may make a presumptive diagnosis of xylitol poisoning. Your veterinarian won’t typically wait for a definite diagnosis regarding the precise amount consumed before starting therapy because clinical indications usually appear quickly.
Is there an antidote for xylitol poisoning?
No. There is no known cure for xylitol poisoning, however intravenous dextrose (glucose) supplementation and liver-protecting medications are helpful treatments.
How is xylitol poisoning treated?
Your veterinarian must act quickly and forcefully in order to effectively reverse any toxic effects and stop the emergence of serious issues.
Depending on your dog’s blood glucose level and whether or not they have shown any clinical symptoms after recently consuming xylitol, your veterinarian may induce vomiting to stop further absorption. If clinical indications have emerged, the course of treatment will depend on what signs are manifesting. Your veterinarian will run blood tests to see whether xylitol is the cause of low blood potassium and blood glucose levels, and whether these issues require treatment. Your dog will always require hospitalization for monitoring blood sugar levels, giving dextrose, giving intravenous fluids, giving liver protectants, and receiving any further supportive care that may be required. To ensure that liver function and blood glucose levels stay normal, blood work should be examined often.
What is the prognosis for recovery from xylitol poisoning?
The outlook is favorable for dogs who receive treatment before showing clinical symptoms or for those who experience mild hypoglycemia that is promptly corrected. The prognosis is typically uncertain if liver failure occurs, and patients may require extensive care.
How can I prevent this problem?
If you use xylitol-containing products, be sure to store them securely and out of your dogs’ reach. Don’t give your pets any food that might contain xylitol. Use only dog toothpaste when brushing your dog’s teeth; never use human toothpaste. It should be noted that some veterinary products include trace levels of xylitol (e.g., gabapentin medication, mouthwashes). These shouldn’t cause xylitol poisoning when taken at the recommended doses, but they might if excessive amounts are consumed.
“If you use xylitol-containing products, ensure sure they are stored securely and out of your dogs’ reach.”
Dogs appear to be the species most vulnerable to xylitol toxicity. The consumption of xylitol does not appear to cause hypoglycemia or liver failure in cats, rabbits, ferrets, or horses. It is nevertheless preferable to keep these other species away from xylitol-containing items even though they don’t seem to be xylitol sensitive.
As it is less harmful to your dog and more affordable, rapid decontamination and treatment are always required in cases of poisoning. It is crucial to diagnose and treat patients quickly.
What are the symptoms of canine xylitol poisoning?
Display this flyer (PDF 1.3 MB) in local animal shelters, pet stores, and veterinary offices to help protect dogs.
The first sign of xylitol poisoning in dogs is vomiting, which is followed by signs of your dog’s blood sugar dropping suddenly, including decreased activity, weakness, stumbling, lack of coordination, collapse, and seizures.
Hartogensis suggests that you take your dog to your veterinarian or an emergency animal hospital right away if you suspect that he has consumed xylitol. Your dog might need to be hospitalized for medical supervision since hypoglycemia and other significant adverse effects could take up to 12 to 24 hours to manifest in some situations.
How much gum is poisonous to dogs?
Xylitol content in products can vary greatly, although only trace amounts of the compound are dangerous. One stick of chewing gum is enough to be toxic and seriously sick your dog, depending on the amount of xylitol present and the size of the dog.
How do I get my dog to vomit after chewing gum?
Find out the contents in the gum he consumed and what kind it was. Your dog can experience digestive distress if the gum is sugary and lacks xylitol, especially if he ate a lot of it. Due to the possibility of an intestinal blockage, you should keep a constant eye on your dog.
Drooling, vomiting, lethargy, and abdominal pain are signs of intestinal obstruction in dogs. If your dog exhibits any of these signs after consuming any amount of gum, call your veterinarian right away. An intestinal blockage may be fatal if untreated.
The only potential side effect you might have is intestinal blockage if the gum was sugar-free but did not contain xylitol (sorbitol, aspartame, and mannitol are safe for dogs).
Call your veterinarian if your dog ate xylitol-containing gum. Your veterinarian might advise you to try to induce vomiting at home with a three percent hydrogen peroxide solution if the ingestion occurred within the previous half hour. Follow your veterinarian’s instructions only. Some dog owners might not feel at ease doing this or be unable to make their dogs puke. In this situation, you must act quickly to get your dog to the vet before the allotted thirty minutes has passed.
Bring your dog to the vet sooner if it has been more than 30 minutes after your dog ate the gum or if you are unsure of when it occurred. Your dog’s prognosis will be better the sooner he receives medical care.