Gum containing the popular sweetener Xylitol can be extremely harmful to dogs. It can cause liver failure, drops in blood sugar, hypoglycemia and even death if not treated quickly. Xylitol can also cause problems down the road for your dog, including blood sugar abnormalities that require medication. (Read more about Xylitol from the product website here.)
Usually, one piece of gum will not hurt a dog. Small dogs who ingest more than that can become very sick. If your small dog (under 25 lbs.) ingests more than one piece of gum, seek medical attention at your vet immediately. Larger dogs can be affected by as little as 5-6 pieces, depending on the type of gum, and the amount of Xylitol it contains. Whenever your dog ingests more than one piece of gum, it is advised you call or visit your veterinarian as soon as possible.
Xylitol is a sweetener used in gum, candy, mints even cakes and cupcakes. The symptoms of Xylitol poisoning include vomiting, inability to stand or walk, lethargy and even seizures in more serious poisonings. Without treatment, dogs can get very sick and even die. This is why it is so important to call your vet if your dog eats anything containing Xylitol!
A few months ago, Scarlett decided to jump up on the kitchen counter for a delicious pack of gum sitting out. We were putting away groceries and didn’t notice she snuck off with the recently bought pack, especially since she’s never taken anything off the counter before. Obviously, this gum was too good to pass up. We noticed 5-10 minutes after she had taken it; “hey, where is that gum we bought?”. We ran around the house, only to find her sitting on our bed, shreds of gum wrapping paper all over the bed.
She ate about 6-7 pieces in total, so we called our veterinarian immediately. We are lucky to have such a knowledgeable, caring vet! He asked us what kind she ate (Trident), how much and went to look it up. When he came back on the phone, he asked us how long it had been. We estimated about 15 minutes. He instructed us to give her 2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide every 5 minutes, until she vomited. The gum should come out, he told us, if it had been ingested in the last hour, and she should be alright. If she began displaying any symptoms of poisoning he said to call his cell phone right away, which he gave to us. (He’s seriously awesome- we are very lucky!) She would then need to go in to the vet in the morning, so he could test her blood sugar. He informed us this poisoning could have caused blood sugar problems that we would need to medicate, though he felt she would be alright considering all the facts (we got to it very quickly, her weight ratio vs. the amount ingested, etc.).
How do you get a previously severely abused, frightened, mistreated dog to ingest 2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide? Well, that was the hardest part! She would not drink it, no matter what we tried. We wanted to pull her head back and pour it down her throat straight from the bottle (one pour usually equals around 2 tablespoons) but that was not working with her. In her last home, someone grinded her bottom canines down and she does not like anyone touching her mouth now. So, we went to Plan B. We took the only syringe we had, a tiny one we used for Chelsea’s medicine) and squirted the hydrogen peroxide in her mouth. It took about 7 syringes to get 2 tablespoons down, so it was kind of traumatic. Poor baby. Thankfully, it only took about 4 minutes and a single 2 tablespoon dose and she was vomiting.
The next part is gross, so we’ll spare the details but we did find the gum. She was acting normal but wanted nothing to do with us (hello, she thought we just tried to poison her!). We took her to Dr. T in the morning for testing and thankfully, her blood sugar was normal. She survived a Xylitol poisoning. We were told if we had not noticed as soon as we did, she could have experienced a huge drop in blood sugar or even liver failure due to how much she ingested. We are very lucky!
Bottom line, never leave anything containing Xylitol out for your dogs to get, even for a minute! Though you may think it’s safe, your dog could still be able to get to it, so think twice. Keep it in a very safe spot, high up and tucked away. We are very vigilant with our pups, but it happened in a split second and could have caused serious problems for Scarlett. Seek medical attention from your vet immediately because every gum, candy, and sweet contains various amounts. In the event your dog ingests too much Xylitol, he’ll need to go to the veterinarian for professional care, monitoring, medicine and IVs.