If you’re a dog owner, you know that our four-legged friends have a fondness for sniffing out anything that smells remotely interesting. Unfortunately, this natural curiosity can sometimes lead to them eating things they shouldn’t. One such common occurrence is when a dog eats gum. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into what happens if your dog eats gum, the symptoms to watch out for, and what you can do to prevent it from happening in the first place.
What is Gum Made Of?
Gum is a chewy, sweet treat enjoyed by many people around the world. Typically, it’s made with gum base, sweeteners, flavorings, and softeners. The gum base is usually a mix of elastomers, resins, fats, and waxes that help give the gum its characteristic texture.
Is Gum Bad for Dogs?
The short answer is yes. Gum (and its sugar-free counterpart) contains xylitol, a sugar substitute that can be very toxic to dogs. Xylitol can cause insulin release in dogs, which can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). If left untreated, this can lead to seizures, liver failure, and in extreme cases, death.
What are the Symptoms of Xylitol Poisoning in Dogs?
The symptoms of xylitol poisoning in dogs can vary depending on the amount of xylitol ingested. However, some common symptoms include:
- Loss of coordination
What Should I do if My Dog Eats Gum?
If you suspect that your dog has ingested gum (especially if it contains xylitol), it’s important to act quickly. Contact your veterinarian or animal poison control center right away. They may advise you to induce vomiting, bring your dog in for monitoring, or provide other treatment options depending on the severity of the situation.
How Can I Prevent My Dog from Eating Gum?
Prevention is the key. Here are some simple tips to prevent your dog from eating gum:
- Keep gum and other sugary treats out of reach of your dog. Don’t leave it lying around on tables or countertops.
- Make sure your dog has plenty of healthy, dog-friendly treats available, such as carrots or apple slices.
- Training your dog to “leave it” or “drop it” can be very helpful in preventing them from eating things they shouldn’t.
While gum may seem harmless, it can be very dangerous for dogs. Xylitol, a common ingredient in gum, can cause hypoglycemia and even death in dogs. If you suspect that your dog has ingested gum (or anything else they shouldn’t), it’s important to act fast and contact your veterinarian right away.
Common Questions About Dogs and Gum
- Q: What should I do if I suspect my dog has ingested gum?
A: Contact your veterinarian or animal poison control center immediately.
- Q: Can sugar-free gum be toxic to dogs?
A: Yes. Sugar-free gum often contains xylitol, which can be very toxic to dogs.
- Q: How much xylitol does it take to be toxic to dogs?
A: It only takes a small amount of xylitol (as little as 0.1g/kg) to be toxic to dogs.
- Q: Are there any safe alternatives to gum for dogs?
A: Yes. There are many healthy, dog-friendly treats available that can help satisfy your dog’s craving for something to chew on.
- AVMA. (n.d.). Xylitol toxicity in dogs. American Veterinary Medical Association. https://www.avma.org/resources/pet-owners/petcare/xylitol-toxicity-dogs.
- ASPCA. (n.d.). Xylitol Poisoning. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/xylitol.