Did your dog find your gum and decided it was something they had to eat? In this article, our Turlock vets will provide you with all the information you need to know about what to do if your dog eats gum and when to bring your dog in for medical help.
What Happens if a Dog Eats Gum?
If your dog has accidentally gotten into your gum package and eaten your gum, you are probably wondering if this is an emergency or not.
This is a normal thing to wonder about because your dog's digestive system is different from humans and gum is not something they should be ingesting. In a lot of cases, your dog will be perfectly fine after a piece of gum and will show no signs at all but there are cases where your dog can become very sick and need to see your Turlock vets.
According to the Pet Poison Hotline, xylitol pet poisonings have more than doubled in the last 5 years as we’re seeing a substantial increase in the number of products that use xylitol. In 2020, the number of calls to the helpline concerning xylitol poisoning was second only to chocolate poisoning calls.
What is Xylitol?
- Xylitol is a low-calorie sugar substitute. Research suggests that Xylitol may also improve dental health, prevent ear infections, and possess antioxidant properties.
- Xylitol occurs naturally in small amounts in fruits and vegetables, trees, corncobs, and even the human body.
- Xylitol is a common ingredient in many products, including sugar-free chewing gum and toothpaste.
- Some people use xylitol as a tabletop sweetener or in baking.
- Manufacturers use xylitol as a sugar substitute because its sweetness is similar to table sugar but with fewer calories.
Symptoms of Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs
The most common symptoms to watch out for after your dog has eaten some gum that contains xylitol are:
How to Determine Whether it's an Emergency
If after eating your gum, your dog starts to become lethargy or weak, collapse or have trouble breathing, pale gums and vomiting or tremors or seizures it is time to bring your dog to your vet right away because these are signs of toxicity and that is an emergency.
Even if your dog is not exhibiting these symptoms it is a good idea to contact your vet to determine the next steps. They may want to monitor your dog as a precaution.
What if Dogs Ate Sugar-Free Gum Without Xylitol?
If your dog eats gum without xylitol, your dog may end up with an upset stomach, especially if they ate a lot of it. You should keep a close eye on your dog because this gum may not be toxic but it does have other potential side effects if eaten including an intestinal blockage.
Symptoms of intestinal blockage in your dog include:
- Lack of appetite
- Abdominal pain
If your dog is the type that eats anything that smells interesting, you may want to switch to gum without xylitol in the future to avoid any serious issues.
What to Watch for in the First 30 Minutes to 1 Hour
You will need to watch your dog for about 24 hours after you discover that they have eaten your gum. The first 30 minutes to an hour is when the most serious symptoms will start to happen. The earlier you get your dog checked out by the vet the better chance your dog will not have any serious complications.
It usually takes anywhere from 10-24 hours for something to pass through your dog's digestive system. Gum is almost impossible for the body to break down, so it must pass through your dog's system if swallowed.
If your dog has eaten a lot of gum, it can cause a blockage in your dog's intestines. This is more likely to happen if your dog also consumes the gum's wrapper or packaging. It could take a few days for the signs of a blockage to become clear to you.
Symptoms of a blockage can include:
- Abdominal tenderness
- Lack of appetite
- Unusual behavior
If your vet suspects a blockage, X-rays will be needed to determine the extent of the issue. The gum can become stuck and if that happens surgery will probably be required.
If you notice the gum coming out of your dog's bum, do not attempt to pull it out. This could cause serious damage to your dog's intestinal tract. Take your dog to a vet where the object can be removed safely.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.