Did your dog steal and swallow your chewing gum? Is there a risk to his health? The answer is yes if your chewing gum contains xylitol.
Xylitol, a toxic sweetener for dogs
Chewing gum, as well as certain “sugar-free” sweets, may contain a sweetener called xylitol. This sweetener is added to confectionery to give them the same sweet taste as classic table sugar (sucrose) while providing fewer calories. It is most often found in confectionery with a minty taste because it gives freshness to the mouth.
While xylitol is not known to be toxic to humans at the doses used in chewing gum and other confectionery *, it can, however, be very harmful to your dog if it swallows it.
In toxic doses, it stimulates insulin secretion by the pancreas, which causes hypoglycemia (low blood glucose concentration) and liver failure in dogs.
Good to know!
The chewing gums used for smoking cessation can also be toxic to the dog if they swallow it because of the nicotine they contain.
What are the toxic doses in dogs?
Xylitol can cause hypoglycaemia upon ingestion of 100mg of sweetener/kg of dog’s body weight, but veterinary supervision is required as soon as the dose of 50 mg/kg is ingested. Liver failure may occur at an amount of 500 mg xylitol/kg body weight.
When xylitol is present in confectionery, it appears in the list of ingredients on the package under the name “& nbsp; xylitol & nbsp;” or under the code E967. On the other hand, its percentage is not always indicated there & nbsp; and the quantities used in confectionery are very variable from one product and from one manufacturer to another: which can pose a problem to assess the dose—absorbed by the dog.
Be especially careful of dogs who tend to rummage in handbags or those likely to pick up chewing gum that has fallen on the ground in the street! A single dragee of 2g of chewing gum that contains only 35% xylitol could already be very toxic for a small dog weighing less than 10kg. Whatever the amount of product swallowed by the dog, you must call your veterinarian without delay if the products in question contain xylitol.
What are the signs of xylitol poisoning in dogs?
The two risks of ingesting xylitol are hypoglycemia followed by liver failure. It can be seen as hypoglycemia without hepatic failure and vice versa, liver failure not preceded by hypoglycemia.
Hypoglycemia occurs between 10 minutes and 12 hours after ingestion, depending on whether the gum swallowed was chewed or not. The signs of hypoglycaemia are usually later when the swallowed gum is not chewed. It can manifest itself by vomiting and by general symptoms such as syncope, general weakness, lack of coordination in movements.
Liver failure can develop between 9 and 72 hours after ingestion of products containing xylitol. & Nbsp; It is manifested by:
digestive disorders: vomiting, jaundice, diarrhoea, presence of digested blood in the stool (black colour),
the appearance of blood clotting disorders which may be noticed by the arrival of petechiae (small spots on the skin that are red to purplish) or bruises,
neurological conditions which can cause seizures.
Dog poisoning with xylitol: what to do and what remedy?
Suppose your dog has eaten candy containing xylitol, and you suspect poisoning. In that case, the only thing to do is to call your veterinarian or a veterinary poison control centre as soon as possible.
The sooner you take your dog to the vet after ingestion, the more opportunity the vet will have to perform digestive decontamination of the animal and reduce the risk of poisoning. But you have to be very quick because xylitol is absorbed into the body in less than 30 minutes unless the dog has swallowed unchewed gumdrops, which have the effect of delaying absorption.
If signs of poisoning have already occurred in the animal, the veterinarian can then treat the poisoning symptoms and place the animal under surveillance. The treatment may then consist of placing the animal on a drip, administering vitamin K1 and transfusing it in the event of severe coagulation disorders.
The chances of the animal surviving the poisoning are better if the animal is taken care of very soon after the poisoning by a veterinarian. However, they are more reserved if the hypoglycemia and hepatic insufficiency are severe.
- Consumption in too large a quantity can, on the other hand, have laxative effects in humans.