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My Dog Ate Gum: Is That Dangerous?

It can be alarming for pet owners to find out that their dog has ingested gum. In this article, our veterinarians in Los Angeles provide guidance on what to do if your dog eats gum and when to seek emergency care.

What Happens When a Dog Eats Gum

If your dog has accidentally gotten into your gum package and eaten your gum, you are probably wondering what to do next, what to look out for, and if this is an emergency or not.

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 Los Angeles vets. Normally the issues are xylitol and the quantity of gum eaten.

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. 
  • 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.

Signs of Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs

The most common symptoms to watch out for after your dog has eaten some gum are:

  • Weakness
  • Stumbling
  • Tremors
  • Collapse
  • Seizures
  • Coma

When it Is an Emergency

If your dog becomes lethargic or weak, collapses or has trouble breathing, or experiences pale gums, vomiting, tremors, or seizures after eating gum, it may be a sign of toxicity, which is a veterinary emergency. You should bring your dog to the vet right away in such cases.

Even if your dog is not exhibiting these symptoms, it is still a good idea to contact Ambassador Dog & Cat Hospital to determine the next steps. They may want to monitor your dog as a precaution.

As dogs are naturally curious, it is advisable to switch to gum without Xylitol in the future to avoid any serious issues.

Sugar-Free Gum Without Xylitol

If your dog eats gum that doesn't contain xylitol, there is a possibility that your dog might get an upset stomach, particularly if they consume a large amount of it. It's essential to observe your dog closely because even though this gum is not poisonous, it can still cause other possible side effects such as intestinal blockage. Indications of intestinal blockage in your dog may include drooling, vomiting, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain.

What to Watch for in the First 30 Minutes to 1 Hour

If you discover that your dog has ingested gum, it's important to watch them closely for 24 hours. The most serious symptoms typically occur within the first 30 minutes to an hour after ingestion. It's recommended to take your dog to the vet as soon as possible to reduce the risk of serious complications. 

Gum is difficult for a dog's body to break down and will likely take between 10-24 hours to pass through their digestive system. If your dog has consumed a lot of gum, it may cause a blockage in their intestines, particularly if they have also eaten the wrapper or packaging.

It may take several days for signs of a blockage to become evident, which can include vomiting, abdominal tenderness, constipation, lack of appetite, or unusual behavior. It can be difficult to determine if your dog is simply feeling unwell or has a blockage. If your vet suspects a blockage, X-rays will be necessary to evaluate the extent of the problem. In some cases, surgery may be required to remove the gum if it becomes stuck. 

If you happen to notice the gum coming out of your dog's bum, do not attempt to remove it yourself. This could cause severe damage to your dog's intestinal tract. Instead, take your dog to a vet immediately where the object can be removed safely.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Has your dog consumed some chewing gum? Contact our Los Angeles vets to have your pup cared for right away.

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