Gum can present a real danger to dogs, so you’ll need to know what to do if yours ever eats any.
It’s not a big deal if a person swallows gum, but dogs have a different sort of digestive system. This is something that you’ll want to learn about if you have one of these pets.
Is Gum Dangerous to Dogs?
The level of risk to your dog’s health depends on the type of gum it ate. The fact is that sugar-free gum is actually very toxic to dogs. This is due to an ingredient called Xylitol, which comes from a number of different plants. It can even be fatal to dogs when consumed in high enough doses.
Regular gum with sugar usually doesn’t pose much of a threat to dogs when they eat it. There are some potentially negative effects, such as nausea and even gas. Gum is typically not responsible for causing intestinal obstruction unless your dog consumes a very large quantity at once.
Other Foods That Contain Xylitol
There are many other foods besides sugar-free gum that contain Xylitol that you’ll want to know about, including:
- Sugar-free yogurt
- Breath sprays
- Sugar-free candies
- Food for diabetics
- Protein bars
- Various medications
- Some peanut butter products
If you observe your dog eating any food that you know has Xylitol in it, you’ll want to rush them to the vet immediately. The longer you wait to do this, the more serious the situation becomes.
There are numerous effects that your dog might experience after eating gum that contains Xylitol. As we mentioned above, it largely depends on the type of gum they ate.
- Coordination issues
- Rapid heart rate
- Lethargic behavior
- Lack of appetite
If you notice your dog exhibiting any of these symptoms, you’ll want to get them medical attention right away. Xylitol poisoning can be fatal, so you don’t want to wait to get your dog looked at and treated.
Factors to Consider
You will need to take certain factors into consideration when determining how serious the situation is. Just because your dog ate some gum doesn’t mean you should instantly go into panic mode.
1. Your Dog’s Size
The overall size of your dog will play a large role in determining how likely it is that they’ll experience any negative effects from the gum. Bigger dogs tend to digest most gum without any issues, whereas smaller dogs can have problems with this.
2. How Much Gum Your Dog Has Eaten
You also need to do your best to determine how much gum your dog actually ate. One piece of gum typically doesn’t do much harm to most dogs. The more they consume, the greater the risk to their overall health.
It doesn’t take a lot of sugar-free gum to cause a toxic reaction in dogs though. Even one piece of this gym can produce some nasty symptoms, some of which are listed above. This is why it is never a good idea to take any chances if your dog eats sugar-free gum. Just get them to the vet as quickly as possible.
3. Chewed or Fresh?
If your dog ate gum that has already been chewed, the chances of their health being in danger are minimal. If they consumed a fresh stick of sugar-free gum, there could be some major problems.
4. Your Dog’s Overall Health
The overall health of your dog is something else to keep in mind. If you have a younger dog that is generally healthy, they will probably not suffer any serious health consequences. Older dogs, especially ones with major health issues, are far more at risk.
Dogs that already have liver disease and get a piece of sugar-free gum will almost certainly experience a severe reaction of some kind. It is important that you make the vet aware of any pre-existing conditions your dog has when you take them in to get looked at.
What to Do When Your Dog Eats Gum
1. Induce Vomiting
If your dog eats any amount of sugar-free gum, you will want to induce vomiting as soon as possible. You will be able to do this by giving your dog a teaspoon or two of hydrogen peroxide. This is usually effective at getting most dogs to throw up.
2. Take Your Dog To the Vet
After you have made your dog throw up, you’ll want to jump in the car and get to your veterinarian right away. Your vet may give your dog activated charcoal, as it is known to help remove Xylitol from the digestive system. They may also want to administer fluids with an IV and run some tests to make sure everything is okay with your pet.
3. Keep a Close Eye On Them
It is important that you watch your dog closely over the next day or two when you get back from the vet. Make sure that you are on the lookout for any symptoms of illness, including vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, and lethargic behavior.
- Regular gum does not usually pose a major health threat to dogs, but sugar-free gum does.
- Most sugar-free gum contains an ingredient called Xylitol, which is very toxic to dogs.
- When you are trying to gauge the seriousness of the situation, you’ll need to consider your dog’s size, what type of gum they ate, and how much.
- The current overall health of your dog is another factor to consider.
- If your dog ate any amount of sugar-free gum, you should rush them to the vet right away.
- Before going to the vet to get your dog looked at, you should first induce vomiting with hydrogen peroxide.
- Keep a close eye on your dog over the next day or two so you can make sure that they aren’t becoming ill.
- Chewed gum poses much less of a threat to dogs, as the Xylitol has been mostly if not entirely expelled.