So you walk into the living room and see your dog looking guilty beside your spilled out purse. You notice your pack of gum is open and empty. You probably start to panic. The only thought racing through your head is “My dog ate gum, what should I do?”
Well, there’s good news and bad news. The good news: if you chew normal gum with real sugar, your dog is going to be fine.
The only problem will be that the gum is going to take a long time to pass through your dog’s system. It’s going to be no worse than if you had swallowed the gum yourself. It may cause a little bit of damage but nothing serious and nothing that can’t heal on its own.
Now, this is true if your dog ate gum that had real sugar in it. If you chew sugar free gum, then you do need to be worried and you will need to take your dog to the vet immediately. By immediately, I mean get your dog in the car now and finish reading this article while you are in the waiting room.
That’s the bad news. Sugar free gum contains an ingredient called Xylitol. This is an artificial sweetener that gum companies use to give their product a sweet flavor without having to use real sugar.
For humans, it is perfectly safe (otherwise they wouldn’t be allowed to put it in your gum) but dogs have different digestive systems than we do. A dog’s digestive system is not as well-adapted to dealing with artificial foods.
When xylitol enters a dog’s system, it is immediately absorbed into their blood and triggers their body to release insulin. Insulin is what processes sugar in the blood. We have it, too but our bodies can tell the difference between real sugar and xylitol so it doesn’t get triggered when we eat it.
So what’s wrong with triggering insulin without sugar? Your dog’s body starts to process the sugar it does have way too quickly which leads to a sudden and serious drop in blood sugar levels.
The effects start to be noticeable in about 10-15 minutes after your dog eats the xylitol gum. The symptoms include:
These are serious and can be deadly if they are not treated so you need to take your dog to the vet as soon as possible.
The longer the xylitol stays in your dog’s system, the more severe the damage will be and it may even kill them. So it is important to get your dog to the vet as soon as possible. If you catch them immediately after they have eaten the xylitol gum, you have very high chances of saving your dog.