Chewing-gum can be fatal for dogs!

Chewing-gum can be fatal for dogs. Not all brands of gum though. Those that are sugarless. It's the xylitol found mainly in sugarless gum that is dangerous for dogs. Xylitol is not toxice for cats, nor for humans, fortunately. Xylitol is extracted from birch bark. The molecule is part of the family of polyols (sugar, alcohol). Xylitol content varies greatly from one product to another.

The Animal Poison Control Center in the United States reported 70 cases of xylitol poisoning in 2004, and 170 in 2005.

Dogs ingesting chewing-gums containing xylitol experience a sudden drop in their blood glucose level (hypoglycemia). The associated symptoms are:

  • depression
  • lack of coordination
  • spasms
  • liver damages followed by coma and death.

These symptoms can occur as soon as 30 minutes after swallowing the gum. If only a small quantity has been ingested, then the symptoms can take a few hours to appear.

The toxic dose is relatively low. For example, just a few sticks of gum can intoxicate heavily a 40 pound dog. 

If your dog just ate sugarless chewing gum, check on the package to see if it contains xylitol. If so, you need to contact a veterinarian immediately. He or she will tell you how to make your dog vomit to try to get the gum out of his system before the xylitol is absorbed.

Your dog might need to be hospitalized to get his hypoglycemia treated and to have a blood test done. There is no antidote available against xylitol.

Your dog ate sugarless gum? Contact one of our establishments without delay!