Help! My Dog Ate Bubble Gum

Red gumball machine half full of gumballs on a wooden counter

Dogs are naturally curious creatures who love to explore and feast on the garbage bag. One thing that can be extremely dangerous for your canines is bubble gum. It is quite obvious that bubble gum can choke your pet by getting stuck in his/her airways. However, it is not the only reason that makes the bubble gums fatal for dogs.

My Dog Ate Extra Gum

Extra is a brand of sugar-free chewing gum produced by the Wrigley Company. Extra was launched in 1984 as the company’s first-ever sugar-free product. It became one of the most popular brands of chewing gum in the United States within a few years.

It is so famous that it is present in most households. The bubble gum comes in many different flavors such as active, spearmint, ice, strawberry, berry, etc. Some of these flavors include xylitol while others are free from this chemical. If your dog ate Extra gum, make sure that it doesn’t contain xylitol. You can find the ingredients on the gum packaging.

My Dog Ate a Gum without Xylitol

closeup of colorful gumdrops

Some flavors of Extra (such as juicy fruit gum) do not contain Xylitol. Instead, Sorbitol is used, and it is totally harmless to dogs. As long as the gum isn’t affecting the dog’s breathing, there is nothing to worry about. However, other flavors like strawberry contain a small amount of Xylitol, which can be lethal for a dog.

My Dog Ate a Gum with Xylitol

rectangle pieces of white gum with  hand spelling xylitol out of gum

In most sugar-free bubble gums, the substitute (of sugar) used is Xylitol. This compound is also used as an ingredient in toothpaste, mouthwash, and even peanut butter. Xylitol tricks the dog’s pancreas into thinking it is sugar and causes excessive secretion of insulin. This causes a drastic drop in the glucose levels of the dogs. Similarly, xylitol can also lead to liver failure.

Chocolate is another edible that is fatal for dogs. In order to put things into perspective, Xylitol is a hundred times more toxic than chocolate.

Why is Xylitol Dangerous for Dogs?

bowl of xylitol in wooden bowl on wooden surface with sprig of garnish

In both humans and dogs, the level of blood sugar is controlled by the release of insulin from the pancreas. In humans, xylitol does not stimulate the release of insulin from the pancreas. However, it’s different in canines.

When dogs eat something containing xylitol, the compound is absorbed into the bloodstream at a much quicker rate. Consequently, there is a potent release of insulin from the pancreas. According to the Veterinary Poisons Information Service, there were 250 reported cases of xylitol poisoning in 2016. Most of these cases were related to chewing gum. Sadly, at least one of the affected dogs died.

Did your dog get into your weed or weed edibles? Check out our post Help! My Dog Ate My Weed to learn about marijuana intoxication and poisoning in dogs.

Symptoms of Xylitol Poisoning

sick dog wrapped in blankets

If your dog ate any sugar-free product, the probability of finding xylitol in its list of ingredients is quite high. Even if you failed to catch your dog red-handed, the following symptoms can suggest xylitol poisoning.

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Tiredness
  • Disorientation
  • Increased heart rate
  • Pale gums
  • Collapse
  • Seizures and tremors

Liver Failure

Liver disease refers to any abnormality in the liver that prevents it from functioning normally. There are several types of liver diseases. If your dog is lucky enough to only have low blood sugar, full recovery is quite easy.

However, if Xylitol has caused liver damage, there’s not much you can do. If this occurs, your pooch will also show signs that indicate hypoglycemia. The amount of bubble gum that can cause this particular condition is determined by the size of the breed. Most vets recommend controlling the situation before we reach this level of liver disease.

Intestinal blockage

dog laying on exam table being checked by vet

It is nearly impossible for the digestive system of dogs to break down bubble gums. Consequently, it must travel through the dog’s digestive tract before exiting the body. If your dog ate a lot of bubble gum, his/her intestines can get blocked. This is because the gum lodges itself in the intestinal cavity.

Things can become even worse if the dog consumes gum packaging as it can block the food from passing through.

Note: If you see something like a wad of gum sticking out from your dog’s rectum, DO NOT attempt to remove it yourself. This can cause serious intestinal damage.

The problem of intestinal blockage doesn’t reveal itself quickly. The symptoms may start to appear after a few days. They are as follows:

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Any unusual behavior like whining
  • Dehydration
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Bloating

If your dog eats bubble gum, you should always call your vet or the pet poison control line at: (888) 426-4435

What to Do If Your Dog Ate a Bubble Gum?

Worried young girl making phone call

If your dog ate a bubble gum containing xylitol, call your vet immediately. In around 30 minutes, xylitol causes a rush of insulin production that can cause extremely low blood sugar levels. Make sure you have the packaging as this will allow the vet to determine the exact amount of Xylitol ingested.

Sometimes, you may need to induce vomiting to flush Xylitol out of the system. If the compound entered the system a while ago, regular monitoring of blood glucose levels may become a necessity. For this reason, you may have to stay at the veterinary clinic for a while. The vet may inject Dextrose into the canine’s system to stabilize glucose levels.

Prevention is Better than Cure

Your dog ingesting sugar-free bubble gum can be an extremely devastating experience. In order to avoid the discomfort, you need to ensure that your pooch can’t reach a gum in his/her surroundings. Likewise, keep all other xylitol-containing edibles away from your dog and always use a pet toothpaste. For instance, if you feed your dog nutty butter, make sure it doesn’t contain xylitol.

Common Household Items Containing Xylitol

mouthwash in glass with toothbrush and toothpaste on counter

Many people these days are going sugar-free after the rise of weight-loss craze. Although it is beneficial for humans, this can prove dangerous for your canine friends. Some of the xylitol-containing household items are listed below.

  • Diabetic snacks (e.g. bubble gum)
  • Baked goods
  • Mints
  • Candies
  • Mouthwashes
  • Toothpaste (in large amounts)
  • Chewable sugar-free multivitamins
  • Chewable sugar-free prenatal medications
  • Nasal sprays

Summary

boston terrier blowing a bubble with bubblegum

Despite its harmful effects, you will need to stay calm if your dog ate a bubble gum. Instead of becoming tense, identify the gum as fast as possible and take your dog to a vet. Make sure that you take the packaging with you and keep an eye out for any symptoms of xylitol poisoning.

Always remember, the sooner you recognize the poisoning and seek veterinary attention, the less dangerous it is to your pet!

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Hi! My name is Heather Hallman. I’m the mother of two beautiful girls and a MAJOR passionate pet parent. I can hardly wait to bring you the BEST resources and information that I've found for our fur-babies.