Jack, the little Jack Russell, is suddenly acting very strange, he is wobbling around the house like he is drunk, and eventually collapses trembling on the floor. His owners rush him to the animal hospital, where the veterinarian asks if Jack could have had access to chewing gum. As a matter of fact, his owner said she had left gum on a side table by her easy chair earlier that day. It turns out, Jack was suffering from a toxic reaction to an ingredient in the sugarless gum!
Small dogs tend to be in the house a lot and have access to all kinds of things we would rather they didn't, like garbage, candy, and gum. Gum can be very dangerous, especially for your small dog, as many sugar-free gums contain xylitol, which is poisonous to dogs and can result in seizures and even death. Small dogs require smaller amounts of toxins to experience severe illness and severe reactions, that could kill your little dog.
Fortunately, Jack got medical attention and made a full recovery. However, his owners don't ever want to repeat that experience again, and there are other dangers to your dog chewing gum. If it is ingested, gum can cause intestinal blockages. An added problem is that gum, chewed on and spit out by your small dog, can end up stuck to carpet, clothes, and furniture, creating a real mess, and that's if you're lucky and it didn’t make your dog sick! The best way to protect your dog, and your furniture, from harm from gum is to teach your small dog not to chew gum.
To reward your dog for leaving gum, or teach him to alert you to gum left out within reach, you will need to treat your dog with something really good to make it worth his while. High value treats like chicken, hot dog bits, or peanut butter, are always popular. You will also want to set up safe scenarios, to practice leaving gum, or reporting it to you. Use gum that does not contain xylitol, so that accidental ingestion during training does not poison your dog. Supervise your small dog carefully, to prevent mistakes and ingestion of gum that will set back training, and could cause your dog to choke or develop gastrointestinal problems.