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 what to do next, what to look out for, and if this is an emergency or not.
These are reasonable concerns because your dog's digestive system differs from that of humans, and gum is not something they should consume. In many cases, your dog will be perfectly fine after a piece of gum and will show no signs at all, but in some cases, your dog may become very ill and require treatment from your Smyrna 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 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.
Symptoms of Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs
The most common symptoms to watch out for after your dog has eaten some gum are:
How to Determine Whether it's an Emergency
If your dog becomes lethargic or weak after eating your gum, collapses or has trouble breathing, has pale gums and vomiting, or has tremors or seizures, bring him to Smyrna right away because these are signs of toxicity, which is an emergency.
Even if your dog is not exhibiting these symptoms it is a good idea to contact Cumberland Animal Clinic 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 consumes gum that does not contain xylitol, it may experience stomach upset, especially if it consumes a large amount of it. You should keep an eye on your dog because, while this gum is not toxic, it does have other potential side effects if consumed, including intestinal blockage. Drooling, vomiting, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain are all signs of an intestinal blockage in your dog.
Since dogs are so curious, 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, 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.
Because symptoms of a blockage can include vomiting, abdominal tenderness, constipation, loss of appetite, or unusual behavior, determining whether your dog is sick or has a blockage can be difficult. If your veterinarian suspects a blockage, X-rays will be required to determine the severity of the problem. If the gum becomes stuck, surgery will almost certainly 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.