If your dog has just eaten gum you are probably concerned and don't know what to do. Today our Torrance vets will provide you with information on what to do if your dog has swallowed gum and if it is dangerous for them.
What Happens if a Dog Eats Gum?
Dogs can be mischievous and get into things around the house like food or a package of gum. Most of the time the things your dog eats won't harm them but there are risks if your dog has consumed gum and it could even be an emergency.
These are normal things 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 Torrance 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
After eating your gum, your dog may start to become lethargic or weak, collapse or have trouble breathing, have pale gums and vomiting, or have tremors or seizures. These symptoms indicate that it is time to bring your dog to Torrance 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 Torrance Companion Animal Hospital 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 it 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.
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.
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 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.