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What to Do if Your Dog Swallows Gum?

Xylitol-containing gum is dangerous to dog health and causes hypoglycemia symptoms within a short time. So what to do if your dog ate gum? Your pet has to be treated quickly, which means, as a pet owner, you need to take your dog to a veterinarian as early as possible. Here's more...
DogAppy Staff
Did You Know?
Without your veterinarian's permission, do not induce vomiting in your dog at home.
Xylitol, a sugar substitute, has been detected in quite a few brands of chewing gum. Though completely harmless in humans, it can be seriously harmful to canine health. In general, chewing gum are a potent mix of artificial sweeteners and flavors, that make them unfit for dog consumption. Xylitol-containing gum particularly have been identified as toxic as far as dogs are concerned.
Xylitol Effects on Dogs
Xylitol is known to stimulate the secretion of insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar. The excess release of insulin causes a sudden drop in blood sugar levels. This hypoglycemic effect usually occurs within 15 to 30 minutes, post consumption. The following are the symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in dogs:
  • Low energy, weakness
  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of appetite
  • Shivering
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of consciousness
Delaying treatment can increase the risk of liver damage, which usually occurs within a few hours after ingestion. You may ask 'how bad can xylitol be for dogs?' Well, this can be gauged from the fact that a 13-pound dog can suffer from severe hypoglycemia simply by ingesting 2 pieces of xylitol-containing gum.
What to Do if Your Dog Swallows Gum?
Contact Your Veterinarian Immediately
It's a case of medical emergency, and requires an urgent visit to the vet's office. Every second counts, and so the more you delay in taking the pet to the clinic, the more your pet stands to suffer. Your pet ingesting xylitol-containing chewing gum should not be taken lightly, as xylitol has been proven to be toxic for dogs. The veterinarian, after examining your pet, may administer a prescription medicine, such as apomorphine, to induce vomiting.
However, in case the vet observes that vomiting is unlikely to have any positive impact on your pet's health, he may suggest IV dextrose-containing fluid therapy to alleviate the symptoms of hypoglycemia. Very severe cases of hypoglycemia may require fluid therapy containing dexamethasone, a corticosteroid, and glucagon, a hormone.
Call Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680 or 855-764-7661)
The helpline may suggest to you to make your dog vomit. You will be asked various questions, including the size and weight of your dog, the number of pieces of chewing gum your pet has swallowed, and most importantly, how long it has been since your pet consumed the gum. After knowing these details, you will be advised whether it would be feasible to make your dog vomit. It is advised to follow their instructions to the T.
Hydrogen Peroxide for Dogs
Hydrogen peroxide may be recommended to induce vomiting in dogs. Before implementing this home remedy, make sure you have consulted your veterinarian or pet poison helpline. 3% food-grade hydrogen peroxide may be advised for inducing vomiting. This is a solution containing 3% concentration of hydrogen peroxide.
The dosage of hydrogen peroxide will vary depending upon the weight of your dog. You will be advised to give a teaspoon (5 ml) of the solution if your dog weighs 10 pounds. Whereas, a 60-pound dog will require around 6 teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide. You can use a syringe (that does not have an attached needle) to feed the given dose. If you face difficulty administering the dosage, combine it with a little ice cream to make the dose less offensive.
When Not to Use Hydrogen Peroxide
  • If your dog is vomiting, appears extremely weak, is lethargic, or shows any other symptom of hypoglycemia, you should avoid administering the dose. Making your dog vomit in such circumstances can aggravate the hypoglycemia, and further worsen its health.
  • Also, if it has been more than an hour or two from the time of ingestion, it is too late to induce vomiting. Once ingested, xylitol passes into the bloodstream in as little as 15 minutes. So, to make the hydrogen peroxide treatment effective, it is necessary to give it before the xylitol gets absorbed into the bloodstream.
Remember, hypoglycemia associated with xylitol consumption is a serious condition, and requires treatment ASAP, before it turns fatal. So, if you have a reason to be suspicious about your pet being exposed to xylitol, then immediately take your pet to the nearest vet, or contact the pet poison helpline.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a veterinarian.