Many sugar-free gums contain Xylitol, which is poisonous to dogs and can result in seizures and even death. Missy is rushed to the veterinarian where she is given supportive care. Fortunately, she did not ingest too much gum and makes a full recovery, but it could have been much worse.
Even chewing gum that does not contain xylitol or other additives that are harmful to dogs can create health problems, as they can cause intestinal blockages and other gastrointestinal issues. Training your dog not to chew gum will prevent dangerous, possibly life-threatening conditions.
The best way to prevent your dog from chewing gum is to keep gum out of your dog's reach, however, this is not always possible. Got kids? Then you know how hard it can be--children do not always remember to keep gum and other treats out of your dog's reach. Training your dog may be easier than training your family members!
Teaching your dog to leave gum and other tasty treats you do not want him ingesting is a useful and potentially life-saving skill that all dogs should know. This means teaching him to stop investigating an object or objects that you direct him to “leave”, including gum. This, however, only works if you are present when the dog discovers the gum. You can also teach your dog to signal you or bring gum to you when he finds it, in order to get a more desirable treat. This might be useful if you have small children in your home or are otherwise limited in how and when your dog is exposed to gum and other candies that could harm him. Ultimately, you will want your dog to respond to commands to leave gum or to make you aware when he finds gum, rather than simply ingesting the gum, which could be harmful to him.
You will need high value treats like chicken, hot dogs or peanut butter, whatever your dog loves, to redirect him from chewing gum to another behavior. You will also want to supervise training carefully when using actual gum so that your dog does not accidentally ingest any. You can take gum out of a package and just use the package for training to minimize the chance of gum being consumed. Make sure gum you use in training does not contain xylitol or other substances that can be harmful to dogs. Remember that gum itself is not good for dogs, as it can cause blockages, so close supervision during training is imperative.