05 May 2014

Can Chewing Gum Kill My Dog? Toxic?

xylitol toxicity dogs
Many products contain Xylitol, a very toxic substance to dogs.

My dog has swallowed chewing gum containing Xylitol. Is this poisonous? What do I do? What is the treatment? What are the symptoms?

1. Can something as common as chewing gum be toxic to dogs? The answer surprisingly is very much yes, Orbit brand chewing gum seems to be a particular hazard in my experience but the problem lies in the xylitol content and any product which contains this ingredient in any concentration is a hazard to dogs. Cats by their nature and preferences are unlikely to eat these products.

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol based artificial sweetener found in many sugar free human food products such as chewing gum, candy, slimming products, baked goods and many more.

2. Symptoms? : Dogs that swallow significant amounts of Xylitol will develop a sudden drop in blood sugar which is a highly dangerous and indeed potentially fatal situation. Symptoms can begin in as little as 30 minutes and last hours.

Expected symptoms could include lethargy, depression, loss of coordination leading through to seizures and coma then perhaps worse. Basically what you might expect to see when a human has an overdose of insulin.

3. What to do if you think your dog has ingested Xylitol?

A. If you can get your dog straight to an ER vet without delay then this is your best option, never underestimate the potential severity of this toxin.

B. As with a great many toxins in the dog if you can induce vomiting as soon as possible within the first hour after ingestion then all may be well. I will give you a link to an accurate article on how to do this best. LINK

C. Emergency Treatment of low blood sugar { Hypoglycaemia }  : Immediate oral administration of glucose solution or honey (1 g per kg body weight) if the dog is concious. Animals that are collapsed should not have large volumes of fluid forced into their mouths as this may result in aspiration pneumonia. Here it is preferable to rub a small amount of the glucose solution or honey onto the animal’s gums or under its tongue.

D. If veterinary help is not available for any reason and your dog is only showing fairly minor symptoms you should do what you can to keep your dog's blood sugar levels up by feeding the dog frequent normal meals over the next twelve hour period.

4. The bottom line? : Xylitol and dogs do not mix, check your household for anything containing this substance and then make sure you keep it well away from your pets.