Sugar-free Gum: The Hidden Dog Poison in Your Purse - DogGear

Sugar-free Gum: The Hidden Dog Poison in Your Purse

Almost all dog owners are aware that there are certain everyday foods which could be poisonous to their pets. Perhaps the most common of these is chocolate, but your purse or pocket could actually contain several foods that are harmful to your dog.

Since many of us are on diets, sugar-free and sugar-free candy has gained a lot of popularity and consequently a permanent place in our purse. However, most of these offerings contain a chemical known as xylitol, which is known to be highly toxic for canines. Below are just a few facts about xylitol and its effects that you need to know in order to properly protect your dog:

How Xylitol Acts

While chocolate might only be harmful to dogs in certain amounts, each piece of your sugar-free gum could potentially kill your pet. This is especially worrying if you own a small dog, as the amount of xylitol in one tiny piece of gum can make them extremely ill.

Xylitol is a poison that acts quickly and can even result in liver failure, making short work of your dog within a few hours. It has also been known to cause seizures.

When a dog takes xylitol into their system, the chemical tricks their pancreas into making more insulin. This causes their blood sugar levels to drop and results in hypoglycemia. This is an emergency case and requires instant medical attention.

The Time Period

The sickness can take place in around 10 minutes after your dog ingests xylitol. You should keep in mind, though, that your dog may not show any signs of being sick for many days. Hence, keep a check on the pieces of sugar-free gum you have left, if you carry them around. If you find a piece missing and your dog has the habit of scrounging about in your purse, try to get them to a vet right away.

The sooner you get them to a vet, the higher the chances your little buddy will have of recovering from the xylitol dose. The ingredients would be useful knowledge for the veterinarian, so make sure to take the gum container with you. If possible, call your vet and get emergency instructions.

The Telltale Signs

While you may not be able to detect certain signs of sickness due to xylitol poisoning right away, there are a few symptoms which you shouldn’t ignore. These include the dog vomiting, exhibiting signs of weakness, collapsing, behaving like they’re drunk, trembling without reason, and seizures. They might also have yellow tints in their eyes or gums, which you should be checking regularly.

While these symptoms may be caused by something else, they’re serious enough to warrant a trip to the vet in any case. They’ll get a complete blood profile there, along with a blood count and urinalysis. Some first aid kits may also be able to assist you if you are unable to get to a vet quickly.

Antidotes or Cures

There’s no certain antidote for xylitol poisoning yet. Your pet may require a blood transfusion if the situation is serious enough. They might also require IV fluids in order to support their liver and keep it from collapsing. If there is liver failure, the solution could be an aggressive course of liver support medicines.


We now know that xylitol is defiantly a very harmful chemical for canines. If possible, try to avoid carrying your sugar-free gum or candy around in an accessible way, such as your purse, pocket, or even a backpack. Dogs can easily get into any bag, which many like to do as it smells of their owner. It’s the same as chewing up your slipper or any other belonging. Needless to say, most dogs are also prone to eating anything edible they find in your bag.

You can avoid such risks by keeping your sugar-free snacks in a child-proof, tamper-proof container. If you can avoid having food items that contain xylitol altogether, that’s the best choice. You can switch to regular gum or candy as well, having smaller portions of it according to your diet. There are other items that contain the same dangerous chemical, such as certain brands of toothpaste. Read the ingredients before purchasing anything like the food items mentioned here in order to make sure your dog remains safe.

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