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Humane Education Leads to Progress
For Informed Dog Owners

Vision Statement: We envision a society free from discrimination, where responsibility, education, love and compassion allow humans to fully respect and understand man's best friend.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Chewing gum...Poisonous???

Hello all! Recently I have treated several dogs that have gotten themselves into a "sticky situation" by eating various kinds of chewing gum. But all joking aside, if your pet gets into your purse or gets to that gum on the kitchen counter or your bedroom dresser they can be in some pretty serious trouble. The primary offender is an ingredient called XYLITOL. It is a sweetener or sugar substitute that many gum manufacturers are now using in their products. There has been some good information passed around recently on the internet, but here are a few more facts to increase your knowledge base about this sticky sweet "poison".

According to the most recent data from the National Animal Poison Control Center (NAPCC), a relatively small dose of xylitol can cause serious hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) that can be fatal if left untreated. (Something you would certainly NOT expect something sweet to do!!) For a small dog (5-10 pounds) the toxic dose could be as small as LESS THAN ONE STICK OF GUM!

Xylitol ingestion can also be associated with severe liver failure, which, even if treated aggressively, can result in death. Not all dogs that ingest toxic doses of xylitol develop hypoglycemia or liver failure, but because it is impossible to predict which dogs will develop these serious symptoms, it is recommended that all dogs that ingest potentially toxic doses be treated aggressively. Also, if your dog (or cat) consumes ANY chewing gum at all, you should contact your veterinarian, the local emergency service or the NAPCC immediately for consultation and treatment.

Treatment usually involves a veterinarian inducing vomiting, taking blood tests to monitor liver function, hospitalization for intravenous fluids (containing dextrose - sugar supplementation), blood sugar monitoring and other supportive care as needed. Dogs that have ingested large amounts may require long term care and follow up blood tests, may have permanent liver problems and may not survive treatment.

A simple solution is to only purchase xylitol free chewing gum. But remember to call your veterinarian if you even FOR ONE SECOND think your pet may have ingested gum. You can also call the National Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 for advice. They charge a $60 consultation fee which can be well worth it in this situation!!! The NAPCC can also answer questions about many toxic substances. Better safe that sorry!!!


Caveat said...

Good post. Incidentally, when I eat fake sweeteners, I get weak in the knees, so maybe I really am a b**ch. Gatorade has the same effect on me, I almost fainted the two times I tried it.

Dr. Mandi said...

Thanks and WOW!!! Lol. Maybe you ARE having the same hypoglycemic episodes as the critters. But deep down, arent't we really all b**ches? Lay off the Gatorade and you should be ok.

Brian Cluxton said...

Wow is right. Thanks, Dr. M, I had no idea. No grapes, chocolate or gum.

Dr. Mandi said...

Onions too...No onions!! Especially raw.

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