Please don’t throw your gum on the road.
I know that sometimes you’re walking or you’re driving and the easiest thing to do is chuck your wad of gum out the window and forget about it, but I am here asking you not to.
Keep chewing the gum. Wad it up in something (paper, a napkin, an old receipt) until you find a trash can to throw it into.
It sounds like such a simple thing to do and maybe you think my request is stupid.
It’s just gum, you think.
But hear me out.
That gum you chew can be deadly.
Most sugarless gums (including Trident and Orbit) contain a substance called xylitol, which is extremely toxic to dogs. Even small amounts can cause hypoglycemia, liver failure, seizures, and death.
So why is xylitol toxic to dogs? According to the VCA Animal Hospital:
“When non-primate species like dogs eat something containing xylitol, the xylitol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, resulting in a potent release of insulin from the pancreas. This rapid release of insulin causes a rapid and profound decrease in the level of blood sugar (hypoglycemia), an effect that occurs within 10-60 minutes of eating the xylitol. Untreated, this hypoglycemia can be life-threatening.”
Of course, not all gums are created equally. Some brands contain much more xylitol and as little as two pieces can be fatally toxic to dogs while a dog may have to ingest dozens of pieces of other brands for the gym to be toxic.
When you toss your gum on the road, I have no idea what kind of dangers my dog is nosing around in. And while I’m diligent and try my hardest to make sure my dog never ingests something when we go on walks, it does happen. She’s eaten chicken bones, trash, you name it. I can’t always see what she is in sometimes until it is too late.
I’ve seen her get sick from things she has eaten while walking. I’ve asked neighbors to be better about securing their trash to avoid any accidents.
But I’ve seen dogs get sick and I know that some of my friend’s dogs have died from ingesting candy, gum, or other foods that contain xylitol.
If you’re a dog owner, I beg you to be more diligent. Be aware of what you are brinigng into your home. Read the ingredient labels. And if something you bought contains xylitol make sure it is well out of reach of your dogs. It doesn’t matter how healthy or young your dog is. If they ingest too much of this toxic substance you best expect the worst.
And if you don’t own dogs or know someone who doesn’t own dogs, inform them of the dangers of xylitol. Ask them not to throw their gum on the roads. Ask them to bag up their trash safely. Ask them to always be aware of what they are giving to dogs they meet.
I would hate to see this happen to my dog. I hate that this happens to any dog.
Accidental poisonings are preventable. All it take is a little education and diligence.
And if you think your dog has eaten something poisonous call the pet poison control hotline or your vet immediately.