Pet owners may worry if their dog eats gum. In this article, our vets in Clearlake will guide you on what to do if this happens and when you should seek emergency help.
What Happens When a Dog Eats Gum
If your dog has eaten gum, you might be worried about what to do and whether it's an emergency. Dogs' stomachs work differently from ours, and gum isn't good for them.
Most of the time, your dog will be okay and won't show any signs of trouble, but sometimes, they can get very sick, especially if the gum contains xylitol or if they've eaten a lot of it. If you're concerned, contacting your local vets in Clearlake is best.
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:
When it Is an Emergency
After eating gum, if your dog starts to become lethargic or weak, begins to collapse or have trouble breathing, or experiences pale gums, vomiting, tremors, or seizures, it is time to bring your dog to the vet right away as these are signs of toxicity which is a veterinary emergency.
Even if your dog is not exhibiting these symptoms, contacting Clearlake Veterinary Clinic to determine the next steps is a good idea. They may want to monitor your dog as a precaution.
Consider using gum without xylitol to prevent future issues, as dogs are naturally curious and can get into trouble.
Sugar-Free Gum Without Xylitol
If your dog eats gum that does have xylitol, they might get an upset stomach, especially if they eat a lot of it.
Keep a close eye on your dog because this gum may not be toxic, but it does have other potential side effects if eaten, including an intestinal blockage. Symptoms of intestinal blockage in your dog include drooling, vomiting, lack of appetite, and abdominal pain.
What to Watch for in the First 30 Minutes to 1 Hour
If your dog eats gum, it's essential to keep a close eye on them for about 24 hours. The first 30 minutes to an hour is when the most serious symptoms will start to happen. The earlier you get your dog checked out by the vet, the better chance your dog will not have any serious complications.
Typically, it takes 10-24 hours for something to pass through your dog's digestive system. Gum is almost impossible for the body to break down, so it must pass through your dog's system if swallowed.
If your dog has eaten a lot of gum, it can cause a blockage in your dog's intestines, keeping other food from passing. This happens if your dog also consumes the gum's wrapper or packaging. It could take a few days for the signs of a blockage to become clear to you.
Signs of a blockage can include vomiting, abdominal tenderness, constipation, lack of appetite, or unusual behavior, so it can be hard to tell if your dog is sick or has a blockage. If your vet suspects a blockage, X-rays will be needed to determine the extent of the issue. The gum can become stuck, and surgery will probably be required if that happens.
If you see gum coming out of your dog's behind, don't try to remove it yourself. This can harm their intestines. Instead, take your dog to the vet for a safe removal.
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.