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Is Chewing Gum Really Dangerous For Dogs?

By Species, By Topic, Dogs, Emergency Situations

A simple answer to this question is, yes, but probably not for the reasons you think.

In years past, we were concerned with dogs swallowing too much of the gum and, literally, having it cause a gastrointestinal blockage depending on the amount ingested. Many times, when the dog ingested the gum, the paper and wrapper was also ingested adding to the amount of “foreign” material in the digestive tract.

More recently, veterinarians have become concerned with an ingredient used to sweeten many gums. This is called Xylitol, and it is regularly added to other food stuffs as well. Xylitol is listed as a “sugar alcohol”, which has replaced natural sugars as well as other artificial sweeteners in many gums, as well as toothpaste and other products. Although harmless to humans, it can be toxic to dogs. It can cause the pancreas of the dog to release an abnormal amount insulin, which in turn can make a dog’s blood glucose level drop precipitously low. This can lead to collapse, seizures or even a coma.  In addition, dogs that have ingested Xylitol can subsequently have liver failure, another fatal condition.

A more recent development is that Xylitol is now being added to certain brands of peanut butter.  Owners often use peanut butter to encourage dogs to take pills or other medication. So now owners must be careful now to even read labels on their peanut butter jars!!

If your accidentally swallowed some gum, or other food containing Xylitol, and you live in Deerfield, Augusta County, Staunton, Harrisonburg, Fishersville, Waynesboro, Charlottesville, or anywhere in between, call CEDARCREST immediately and schedule an appointment: 540-943-7577

CEDARCREST Animal Clinic provides medical and surgical care for every stage of your pet's life including preventive wellness care exams and vaccines, spays/neuters, and a variety of specialized care for your dog, cat, avian, or exotic. We are home to the only veterinarian practitioner in Virginia to be double Boarded in Avian and Canine/Feline care and provide care for birds, small mammals, and reptiles of all sorts! Plus, we are home to Virginia's most exclusive dog boarding resort that includes heated floors, an expansive play area, and even webcams so you can watch your pet while you're away. We're located in Fishersville, Virginia, and serve Augusta County and surrounding areas including Waynesboro, Staunton, Harrisonburg, and Charlottesville. 

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