MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — An additive in chewing gum can keep cavities away, but it can also make your dog sick to the point they have seizures — or even die.
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol, which is made from wood. The name might not sound familiar, but it’s found in everything from nasal sprays, to alternate baking sugar to the most common gum.
If it’s ingested by a dog, it can drop its blood sugar, causing severe illness. It can also impact the liver, which could cause death.
“What we see are signs of low blood sugar which is going to be wobbliness, collapse, maybe even seizures if it goes really long,” said Dr. Lisa Powell of the University of Minnesota’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
The University’s Emergency clinic has seen a number of these cases, including one of their own staff members.
“My son, who was three at the time, decided that while I was busy doing some things, thought it would be a good idea to go into my purse and get some gum,” said Senior Vet Tech Lisa Gerads.
He then shared it with his dog, Fletcher.
“Grapes are bad, chocolates bad, but we didn’t realize, wow, one piece of gum could potentially be harmful to my dog,” said Gerads.
Fletcher spent the night at the ER, but tests showed his owner got him to the clinic in time.
Veterinarians warn pet owners that dogs can sniff out gum in the simplest of places, and they recommend taking your dog to the clinic if you think they’ve gotten into gum.
For help with other items that are poisonous to pets, there is a hotline out of Bloomington that can guide you to the right resources. Call 1-800-213-6680.