Dixie, our sweet cocker spaniel, got into a friend's purse one time and went prancing around the yard with a $20 bill hanging out of her mouth like she was very proud of her find! We all thought it was pretty funny, but just think if she would have grabbed that package of sugar-free gum instead?
According to petfoodindustry.com, "Xylitol, often found in gum, may cause hypoglycemia, seizures and liver failure if ingested by dogs." Xylitol is a common artificial sweetener found in sugar-free baked goods, candy, breath mints, sugar-free chewing gum, oral hygiene products, cough syrup, and children's chewable vitamins, to list a few.
According to the VCA Animal Hospitals website, "Xylitol is estimated to be 100 times as toxic as chocolate to dogs." This website also points out that "with certain brands of gum, only 9 pieces of gum can result in severe hypoglycemia in a 45 pound dog, while 45 pieces would need to be ingested to result in liver failure. With other common brands of gum (which contain 1g/piece of gum), only 2 pieces would result in severe hypoglycemia, while 10 pieces can result in liver failure." That is scary considering most packs of sugar-free gum contain 10 or more pieces and it wouldn't take long for your dog to inhale the whole pack.
To prevent xylitol poisoning, be careful about leaving your purse on the floor. Not only is it bad luck ;) but your pup could get a hold of something she definitely should not. Also, check the ingredients on your gum and the other item listed above to see if you have this killer lurking in your household. If you're worried your pet has been poisoned, call the Pet Poison Hotline (800) 213-6680 right away.
Despite Dixie's love of toilet paper (or any paper for that matter), we thankfully kept her away from the sugar-free gum; however, she passed away last spring from congestive heart failure. It was very hard on all of us but I think her best friend, Daisy, misses her the most. Dixie was a sweet, loving, and patient girl. We will remember her always.