Dog owners beware: you may want to watch where you put your gum. An ingredient in sugar-free gum is highly poisonous to your dog, more poisonous than anti-freeze.
It’s common and it’s probably in more items in your pantry than you know.
When Janna McClure got home last night, her two year old dog had just finished devouring half a pack of gum. She figured he would be fine, but called the vet to be sure.
“They told me to bring him in immediately, so when I got in they had to make him throw up the gum,” Janna McClure said.
What the vet told her was shocking.
“I would say it’s just as deadly as rat poison, and maybe even more so because at least with rat poison if there’s been ingestion you’ve got at least a few days,” Dr. Bryan D. Ramsey, of the South Tyler Animal Clinic, said.
Xylitol, an artificial sweetener, poisons dogs in a matter of minutes. When Duke arrived at the South Tyler Veterinary Clinic, it had been just 20.
“His blood sugar when we saw Duke yesterday was already in the low fifties,” Dr. Ramsey said.
Normal is between 80 and 120.
It took just seven sticks of gum to make a 60 pound dog very sick. According to Dr. Ramsey, the effects of Xylitol poisoning just aren’t as well known amongst dog owners.
“There’s a small risk of bringing a Kit Kat bar into your house and the dog getting a hold of the Kit Kat. It’s completely different if you bring in something that’s the equivalent of rat poison into your house,” McClure said.
Xylitol affects a dogs blood sugar, causing it to drop. Left untreated, a dog’s liver will begin to fail.
“We usually see a low blood sugar or low potassium, or even liver failure and then we start thinking about the toxins that can do that and Xylitol comes to mind,” Dr. Ramsey said.
And charcoal, that’s usually used to absorb poison, doesn’t work with Xylitol.
“It makes your heart drop, it makes you feel like you know, especially the urgency of the matter,” McClure said.
Xylitol is completely safe for humans according to Dr. Ramsey, but is something to bark about for dogs.
Often symptoms are not obvious with this sort of poisoning. They include lethargy, weakness, and sometime seizures.
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