Chewing Gum

Chewing Gum & Your Dog

Many people ask me if chewing gum is toxic to dogs?”

Yes, is the answer to the question – some of it is!  It is actually the sweetener in some chewing gum products that can be toxic. The toxic ingredient is called xylitol. Many pet owners have no idea about this, so I wanted to make sure all my Petplace subscribers knew about this.

I first found out about this several years ago when a dog got into the owners purse and ate some different vitamins and medications. There were several different pills with complex combinations of minerals, herbs and as well as some heart medications. We were not sure if this particular mix of ingredients was toxic.

The owner thought the dog was acting a little funny so she was on her way to the clinic. In the mean time, we called poison control that handles tons of toxic calls about dogs and I asked about that drug combination and their best recommendation for treating the dog. Luckily, it ended up the medications were under the toxic level but in the mean time, the toxicologist asked if was there any chewing gum in the purse….

I put them on hold – and called the owner – and they said yes – there was. She had sugar-free gum in her purse. Some sugar free gum contains an ingredient that can be toxic to dogs – an ingredient called Xylitol.

When the owner arrived – the dog was indeed acting a little lethargic. We checked his blood sugar and it was low. This is a common side effect from the xylitol.  I had never heard of this before that phone call. Apparently they had seen only 1 or 2 cases at the time when I happened to call and were on the lookout. We were fortunate to know and be able to help the dog.  That was several years ago.

The dog did fine. However, since that time, they have documented several cases and also found that xylitol cannot only cause a temporary low blood sugar but it can cause liver problems.

“Xylitol” is commonly found in sugar-free gum, candies and some baked goods. It seems some pets are more sensitive to it than others. The exact amount that needs to be ingested to cause problems is still being determined. Signs can develop quickly. So yes, something as simple as your dog eating a piece of your gum can create and emergencies that can cost hundreds of dollars in vet bills.

Many of you have told me that you have the perception that pet insurance may be too expensive for you. Please do not make assumptions, but get the facts.  I encourage you to take a minute to educate yourself about pet insurance, understand the costs and learn how it can save you money and give you peace of mind, that you can afford to provide the best medical care for your dog in case of emergency (dogs are way too curious and are always getting into things).

So take a few minutes to get the facts about pet insurance and to get a personalized price quote Go to: petinsurance.com