New pet owners and people who may not know much about dogs might mistakenly give their pups chewing gum if they catch a whiff of that smelly dog breath, but this is a huge mistake! Not only is gum a choking hazard for pups (they can't chew stuff long-term like we can), it also contains potentially toxic ingredients that can do serious harm to your dog!
If you want to freshen your dog's breath, look into doggy-appropriate treats and toys that do the job. If for some reason your dog accidentally gets into a pack of gum, you'll need to be familiar with some of the signs and symptoms that go along with this so you can respond appropriately and keep your dog safe and healthy.
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Signs Your Dog Got into the Chewing Gum
First things first, your dog isn't able to chew on gum, so one of the biggest risks is choking. Do you notice your dog is having breathing troubles? Does it seem like something is caught in their throat? If your dog is choking and your gum is missing, it's likely that your dog got into it.
If your dog does swallow gum, there are a few signs that he might be having some adverse effects to it. You might notice signs of hypoglycemia if your dog eats enough gum too quickly. This means that he might stumble, lose awareness, fall over, have seizures, or go into a coma!
The xylitol in gum is the culprit, here. Dogs do not have the systems to digest this properly, so it can definitely affect their blood sugar. This typically occurs when your dog eats more than 35 milligrams of xylitol per pound. If you have a tiny dog, that's not that much, so it's important to be cautious!
- Yellow Skin or Gums
The History of Dogs and Gum
While ancient civilizations did, indeed, chew on "gum", it was generally made of tree sap. Only in the 1840s did gum as we know it, come to be. And it wasn't until even later that we started pumping all sorts of nasty, synthetic properties into it.
Pair that with the global movement of dogs into the home, and you've got yourself a bit of a sticky situation! Gum smells great, and dogs love smells. By all means, gum appears to be food, making it something that any dog would likely try if given the opportunity. Looking at this reality only reinforces the need to keep gum - and other toxic-but-tasty substances - well out of your doggo's reach!
Science Behind Chewing Gum and Dogs
So, what's the reason for this? Aside from just being a choking hazard (dogs cant chew on gum like we can), it contains an ingredient called xylitol. This is a sugar-alcohol that your dog cannot process correctly. Xylitol is best described as a sweet-tasting crystalline alcohol that's derived from xylose, which can be found in some plant tissues.
People use this in things to make them sugar-free without losing the sugar-sweet taste. It's a clever idea, but it's toxic to your animal and can cause things like liver damage and failure, as well as hypoglecmia, shock, and death.
How to Train your Dog to Avoid Chewing Gum
Additionally, make sure he's comfortable with the vet because if he's been trained to be comfortable at the clinic, he'll be calm under more dire situations at the vet. Make sure these trips are always associated with positive love, affection, and attention. It's important you don't store gum somewhere your dog can get a hold of it, too!
How to React if Your Dog Eats Gum
Contact your vet immediately!
With your vet's permission, help your dog purge.
Prepare your dog for IVs and shots.
Make sure you're monitoring your dog's behavior and their glucose levels with your vet.
Move all the gum in your house to a location where your dog cannot get to it.