Is Gum Safe for Dogs?

Dogs investigate everything with their mouths and that often results in them eating things that they really shouldn’t. One of the most common calls vet surgeries get from dog owners is “my dog ate gum”. There are lots of things to consider here. Many dogs eat gum and seem fine, while others can become ill very quickly. Let’s take a look at what to do if your dog eats gum.

The first thing you should do if your dog eats gum is to call your vet. They will ask you these questions:

  1. How much gum did your dog eat?
  2. How long ago did your dog eat the gum?
  3. Does the gum contain Xylitol?
  4. How much does your dog weigh?
  5. Is your dog exhibiting any symptoms?

The answers you give will determine whether the vet treats this as an emergency or advises you to monitor your dog’s symptoms.

Does the gum contain xylitol?

Ordinary gum usually contains refined sugar or variations of such, which are not harmful. Sugar-free gum is generally produced with Xylitol, which is a sugar substitute. Xylitol is toxic to dogs and can cause hypoglycemia, liver failure, seizures and even death.

50mg of Xylitol per pound of body weight (100mg per kilogram) is enough to cause hypoglycemia. Higher doses will cause liver damage to occur which can develop into liver failure if left untreated. One piece of unchewed gum is enough to cause symptoms in a dog weighing 10 pounds.

It is vital that you contact your vet immediately if your dog ate gum containing Xylitol as symptoms can develop quickly and there is no antidote for it. The longer Xylitol is in your dog’s bloodstream, the more damage it will cause. Even if your dog shows no symptoms, you should still call your vet.

If the gum contained Sorbitol, Mannitol or Aspartame, your dog should suffer no ill effects as these substances are not toxic to dogs. They may experience loose stool or diarrhea shortly after, but this should resolve itself within 12-24 hours.

What to do if my dog ate gum

After checking the ingredients to determine whether the gum contains Xylitol, there are a few things you should do.

Firstly, call your vet if your dog shows any changes in behavior or appears unwell. They may advise bringing your dog in to induce vomiting just to be safe.

Monitor your dog for any of these symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Pale gums
  • Lack of coordination
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Collapse

You should take your dog to the vet immediately if he exhibits any of these symptoms. The sooner he receives treatment, the better his prognosis will be.

If your dog has eaten gum that does not contain Xylitol, you need to monitor them for a couple of hours, but they should not experience any ill effects.

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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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