It's no secret that dogs love to chew and eat things that they sometimes shouldn't. Today, our Elkhorn-Walerga Animal Hospital vets talk about what to do if your dog ate gum and when you should bring them in to see your veterinarian.
Why is it a Concern if Your Dog Ate Gum?
Dogs like to eat things and so at some point, you may find yourself in the portion of witnessing your dog eating gum and be unsure of what steps to take if they have been successful.
Your dog's digestive system is not the same as a human's and so things that may be perfectly harmless for us to eat can be detrimental to a dog's health. 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 Sacramento 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 & Where is it Found?
- Xylitol is a sugar alcohol, it is a kind of carbohydrate and does not contain alcohol.
- 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. People also 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.
Common Symptoms of Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs
The most common symptoms to watch out for after your dog has eaten some gum are:
How To Know If You Should Seek Veterinary Care
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 Sacramento right away because these are signs of toxicity and that is an emergency.
Regardless of the symptoms, you should always contact your vet in Elkhorn-Walerga Animal Hospital to determine the next steps. They might suggest monitoring your dog until the danger has passed.
What To Do If Your Dog Eats Sugar-Free Gum That Doesn't Contain 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 drooling, vomiting, lack of appetite, and abdominal pain.
Since dogs are so curious, you may want to switch to gum without Xylitol in the future to avoid any serious issues.
Signs To Watch For After Your Dog Ate Gum
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, keeping other food from passing. This happens 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 vomiting, abdominal tenderness, constipation, lack of appetite, or unusual behavior, so it can be hard to tell if your dog is sick or has a blockage. 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 remove it. This could cause irreversible harm and so it is best to contact your vet to have them examine your dog and remove the gum.