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My dog ate chewing gum

Jack Russell licking its mouth advice

If your dog eats chewing gum, contact a vet ASAP.

© Shutterstock

When a dog eats chewing gum, it's so toxic that it's one of those occasions when you'll have to act quickly to save your pet.

By Dr. Liz Barton MA, VetMB, MRCVS

Updated on the 19/11/2020, 18:17

Humans might like chewing gum, but it's incredibly bad and dangerous for dogs. So as well as never letting your pet anywhere near some, read on to find out what could happen to you dog if it ever got hold of any gum.

Can chewing gum make dogs sick?

Chewing gum often contains artificial sweeteners, which are toxic to dogs and can make them very sick if not treated. Even if there are no toxic substances, chewing gum can upset your dog's stomach resulting in vomiting and diarrhoea. Many human foods contain xylitol and other sweeteners and sugars that can be harmful for dogs. It is safest not to give dogs any processed human foods.

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What happens if a dog eats chewing gum?

Most chewing gum – including sugar-free gum and brands such as Orbit and Extra – contain xylitol, which is extremely poisonous to dogs (xylitol is used as a sugar substitute to help to prevent tooth decay in humans). It has a strong effect on the insulin levels in your dog and leads to very severe hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar). It can also cause liver failure and blood-clotting disorders. Symptoms of hypoglycaemia include weakness, lack of coordination, depression, vomiting, seizures and even coma.

Can dogs die from eating chewing gum?

Yes, they can. Your dog can die because of hypoglycaemia or liver failure and bleeding after eating chewing gum containing xylitol. Yet with early supportive veterinary care, they can often recover.

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How much gum is toxic to dogs?

Unfortunately, xylitol is so potent and highly toxic to dogs that even if your dogs eats a small amount it can cause serious effects. The toxic dose of xylitol is recorded at 75 to 100mg per kg. If your dog has other concurrent problems, such as liver disease or diabetes, the toxic dose may be less. How much gum will kill a dog depends on the size of the dog and the amount of xylitol in the gum.

What should I do if my dog eats chewing gum?

If your dog eats chewing gum, contact a vet immediately to let them know when your pet ate the gum (if known) and how much they ate. Keep hold of any packaging to help your vet calculate if this is likely to be a toxic dose. If your dog chewed gum but didn’t swallow it, they may still have absorbed some of the toxic substances through their saliva. If they have eaten gum but are acting fine, it is still best to call a vet to check, as the symptoms can be delayed.

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How do I make my dog throw up gum?

Making your dog vomit will reduce the amount of harmful substances they absorb, if they have eaten gum. Contact a vet, who will be able to advise you what to do, as it may not be safe to make your dog vomit at home.

How to determine whether it’s an emergency

Dogs who have eaten chewing gum may show symptoms as quickly as half an hour after eating the gum. Other problems, such as liver failure or clotting disorders, can take days before symptoms show. If your dog becomes unwell after eating chewing gum, the signs can worsen quickly and should be treated as an emergency.

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