Sugar Free Gum Toxicity

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There are many delicious sugar free gums available for people to choose from.  But did you know that some of these gums can be fatal to your dog if ingested?  Xylitol, an artificial sweetener, can drop your dogs blood sugar levels rapidly and cause liver toxicity. This artificial sweetener can be found in many different types of objects including gum, sugar-free candy, flavored drinks, peanut butter, protein powders, tooth paste, vitamins, sunscreen and deodorants.

Symptoms of xylitol toxicity include tiredness, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty walking, seizures or falling down. Since blood sugar levels can fall to a dangerous level within an hour of eating the toxic ingredient, immediate veterinary care is essential.

Treatment for xylitol ingestion will depend on how recently and how much of the toxin was eaten. If your dog ate xylitol within 1-2 hours, your veterinarian will induce vomiting to try and prevent absorption of the toxin. Sadly, the gum manufacturers are very secretive about the amount of xylitol in each of their gum varieties, since this is considered part of their trademarked recipe, so we have a difficult time determining how much is dangerous. 

AS LITTLE AS 2-3 PIECES CAN CAUSE TOXICITY IN A 10 POUND DOG!!!

If your pet’s blood sugar is low, your veterinarian will recommend hospitalization with IV fluids to help keep your pet’s blood sugar at a safe level. While at the hospital, your dog’s blood sugar will be checked every few hours. Due to the risk of liver damage, your veterinarian will also recommend submitting blood work to monitor liver health. Other medications for your patient while they are in-hospital could include anti-nausea medications, liver protectants and antacids.

If your dog only suffers from low blood sugar, they will usually make a quick recovery and be able to leave the hospital within 1-2 days. However, if liver damage is present, a longer hospital stay with more aggressive care will be needed to try and get your animal feeling better.

Due to the dangers of this toxin, we recommend keeping all gum/candy out of reach of our furry friends. Also, before feeding peanut butter, please check the label to make sure xylitol is not present.

IN HOMES WITH CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS-EXERCISE CAUTION!  FRIENDS MAY HAVE GUM IN THEIR PURSES AND THE DOG MAY GET ACCESS!  We aren’t suggesting searching your children’s friends for contraband…or maybe we are ;).