WARNING! Sugar Free Gum is VERY toxic to dogs

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WARNING! Sugar Free Gum is VERY toxic to dogs

Postby Administrator on Sat Oct 10, 2009 9:57 am

All four of our dogs spent the night in the hospital last night and will be there all day today on IV dextrose, because of one little pack of sugarfree gum. Fortunately they are all going to be fine, (yes, including Schubert our assistance dog
puppy) but it could have turned out much worse.

I am not prone to this sort of thing, but I am emailing everyone I know who has dogs to make SURE you know about this. It could save your dog's life. (BTW, heartfelt gratitude to my dear friend Margo, who sent this article to me as a heads-up a few months ago, or I wouldn't have known about this, and we could easily have lost all four of our beloved dogs.)

Bottom line: the sweetener Xylitol, which is in most sugarfree gum and candies, is very toxic to dogs and even small amounts (2 sticks of gum) can kill a small dog. It only takes 6-8 sticks of gum to kill a dog the size of Schubert (70 lbs). A typical gum pack has 14 sticks - easily enough to endanger my dogs. Truly terrifying is that the damage can occur in as little as 15-30 minutes. Check out the article:


My story: the dogs were hanging out with me like they always do in the bedroom yesterday while I showered to get ready for work. Typically I hear play-growling and lots of scampering feet, with flashes of multiple furry bodies traveling at great speed past the shower door. I thought it was a little too quiet, and sure enough when I got out of the shower my Border Collie Sky was under a chair looking sad (he's a big tattle tale on the other three). Our two Bichons and our usually perfect lab Schubert were in the closet, obviously up to something. I was dismayed to find that they had dragged an old purse off of a low shelf, and had helped themselves to its contents. There were chewed pens, a destroyed lipstick (yes, all over the carpet), shredded kleenex, and, to my horror, remnants of a pack of Wrigley's Orbit sugarless gum.

I vaguely remembered the article that Margo had sent me, so I knew that it was Not a Good Thing that the dogs had ingested the gum. Problem was, I had no idea how much gum had been in the pack or who had eaten it. I called my vet and he said, "bring them all in immediately!".

The vet pumped their stomachs and found that all of them except Sky had eaten several pieces of gum, wrappers and all. Sky apparently was full because he had eaten an entire rope toy. (We may have accidentally dodged yet another bullet there... I knew the toy was missing but had no idea that Sky could eat something that large. No more rope toys in our

All four dogs were put on IV dextrose to counteract the effects of the Xylitol and to ward off liver damage. They are still in the hospital now getting their glucose levels and liver enzymes checked every 3 hours. So far, so good, but we're not completely out of the woods yet.
They will need to be checked for the next 72 hours as well. All four dogs are exhibiting signs such as dark brown urine that are going to have to go away before they can go home. (I'm not sure what else was in that purse that they ate, I know there were some vitamins, so we're treating them all for poisoning just in case.)

So, some lessons learned the hard way:

* Never leave purses, old or new, where dogs can get into them! That purse was on that shelf for over a year and I had forgotten about it. I should never have stored it at dog-height.

* Obviously, keep sugar free gum and candy in a very safe, high place, or better yet, don't have it in your house at all (our new policy)!

* If you think your dog has eaten gum or candy with Xylitol, RUN, do not walk, to the nearest veterinary clinic. Time is of the essence, the longer that stuff sits in their stomach, the more damage it does.

* If your dog is lethargic, has seizures, or loss of coordination, check around to see if he/she could have gotten into candy or gum. Again, go STRAIGHT to the vet.

We're lucky that I was there when it happened and that Margo had sent me that article. Lots of dogs have not been so lucky, many have died. The gum companies refuse to put a warning on their gum because they don't want to affect their sales and the FDA only protects people, not animals, so they are not required to put any warnings on their products.

Beware and be vigilant! That seemingly harmless pack of gum can be deadly.
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