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Uh oh! You accidentally left your purse out and your dog ended up chomping on a stick of gum he found buried at the bottom of the bag. Hopefully, you'll never find yourself in this situation but if you do, you'll need to act fast. Some gums contain xylitol, and xylitol in dogs can be life-threatening. Here's what to do if you think your dog may have eaten gum.
My Dog Ate Gum — Should I Be Worried?
It depends on the type of gum your dog ate. If he ate sugar-free gum, there's a definite cause for concern. Sugar-free gum contains xylitol, a sugar replacement used in many sugar-free foods; xylitol in dogs is toxic.
If the gum wasn't sugar-free, then there may be less concern, but it's still a good idea to call their veterinarian just in case. You should also monitor your dog to make sure the gum makes its way through their system.
Symptoms of Xylitol Poisoning
As few as one or two sticks of some gums containing xylitol can be toxic to dogs of all sizes.
Cummings Veterinary Medical Center says the ingredient can cause a dangerous drop in blood sugar. The most serious cases can result in liver failure.
According to the FDA, xylitol in dogs can cause the following side effects:
- Decreased activity
- Loss of coordination
Xylitol isn't just found in gum — it's also used in candy, toothpaste, mouthwash and other sugar-free products. It can also be found in chewable vitamins, throat drops and throat sprays. To keep your pup safe, keep all food, candy, dental products and medicine out of their reach. An upper kitchen cabinet is a good place to keep these items from even the most inquisitive dogs. Be sure to keep bags, purses, coats and any other clothing or containers well out of their reach as well. A dog explores with their nose, so any open bag or pocket is an invitation for them to stick their head in and check it out.
What to Do If Your Dog Eats Gum
If you know that your dog has ingested gum with xylitol in it, bring them to their vet or an emergency vet clinic immediately. The vet may run blood tests to determine if your dog has decreased blood glucose levels and/or elevated liver enzymes.
If you're not certain whether or not your dog ate gum, it's best to err on the side of caution and contact the vet for advice.
You know your dog will eat nearly anything, so it's your responsibility as their pet parent to be vigilant and keep all human foods and other toxic items out of their reach. Your pup doesn't know better — it's up to you to protect their health and safety.
Erin Ollila believes in the power of words and how a message can inform—and even transform—its intended audience. Her writing can be found all over the internet and in print, and includes interviews, ghostwriting, blog posts, and creative nonfiction. Erin is a geek for SEO and all things social media. She graduated from Fairfield University with an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. Reach out to her on Twitter @ReinventingErin or learn more about her at http://erinollila.com.