Watch your gum! Sugar-free gum often contains xylitol because it tastes like sugar, reduces the formation of plaque, inhibits cavities, and stimulates the production of saliva. But xylitol is extremely toxic to dogs. Even small amounts can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure, and even death. When dogs eat xylitol it is quickly absorbed in to their bloodstream resulting in a drastic release of insulin from the pancreas, which itself results in a rapid & drastic decrease in blood sugar within 10-60 minutes of ingestion. If you think your dog has ingested a xylitol containing product, it is important to act fast! Symptoms of xylitol toxicity usually develop 15-30 minutes post consumption and can include vomiting, weakness, ataxia, lethargy, tremors, seizures, and/or even coma.
This particular pack of gum was brought in by a client whose 16 pound dog had chewed what they initially thought was 5-6 pieces. They did the right thing by acting fast, calling both us and Poison Control. Immediately when they got here we checked the dog's blood sugar level and it was normal at that time. She was also not exhibiting any other symptoms of toxicity. The doctor chose to induce vomiting to prevent any further potential absorption. Lucky for them, the prognosis for xylitol recovery is good for dogs that are treated before clinical signs develop.
Xylitol toxicity can be prevented by making sure the products are stored safely out of the reach of pets. Don't share food containing xylitol with your pets - including some peanut butters! So make sure to check the labels. Only use toothpaste intended for pets when brushing their teeth, never one made for human use. And most importantly, if you do suspect any toxicity, call your veterinarian right away.
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4268 Three Mile NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49534
Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 8:30 am to 6:00 pm
Tuesday, Thursday: 8:30 am to 8:00 pm
After hour emergency consultations are available to clients of record until 10:00 pm. Our main line will direct to the doctor on call.