Question: Can dogs eat gum? And what do I do if my dog ate gum?
Answer: So you’re sitting there chewing on your favorite gum in the whole wide world (mine is always something of watermelon taste), and suddenly the question of whether you can slip Fido a piece of gum to chew on pops in your mind!
Or, you could simply be smelling bad breath coming out from your dog’s mouth and think about giving them some gum to make it go away, the same way you and I use gum as an emergency when we have to be around people after we’ve eaten something that contains garlic.
However, giving gum to your dog might be one of the worst things you could ever do to them, for many reasons we’ll be covering in this article.
Even if your dog has one of the worst cases of bad breath, there are a million and one other methods you can make use of to solve this problem without having to resort to something as unnatural as artificial gum (special toothbrushes for dogs, special toothpaste for dogs with bad breath, etc ..).
Read along to find out why!
Can Dogs Eat Gum?
There’s only one answer to this question, and unfortunately it’s a big NO.
Keep gum chewing a process you and I partake in, there’s absolutely no reason your dog should be given gum at all – there’s actually all the harm in the world that they could face if given gum to “chew” on.
(Sheesh, I thought covering an article the other day about dogs eating marshmallows was kind of a strange thing to talk about – we people sure can be creative in what we think about giving our dogs!)
Thousands of dogs all over the world are treated for poisoning and toxicity after they are given gum.
- Dogs, unlike you and I, don’t know that gum is supposed to be chewed. Instead, they’ll directly swallow it. And what does this mean? A huge risk of your dog chewing on the piece of gum, especially if it’s one of those larger pieces that many companies are manufacturing nowadays.
- Gum contains artificial sweeteners like Xylitol, which (while completely fine for humans to consume) are just terrible for your dog’s health. The Xylitol found in the chewing gum you give to your dog will cause a severe drop in blood sugar levels, which lead to all sorts of problems. Xylitol has also been found to be a main culprit in the development of liver disease (and eventually liver failure) in dogs. (Xylitol, a sugar-alcohol sweetener, is found in much higher amounts in sugar-free gum than it is found in chewing gum that’s already packed with sugar, and we’ll talk about that a bit later in a section below).
- Other than Xylitol, you also have to worry about a whole lot of additives, preservatives and chemicals that gum contains, all of which only spell trouble for dogs. Why would you ever want to feed your dog something so unnatural? Would dogs in the wild ever eat gum? It’s just against nature! All of these additives, preservatives and chemicals will stay in your dog’s body and accumulate with time as well, and you never want that to happen.
Can Dogs Eat Sugar Free Chewing Gum?
Some of you may be asking yourselves that if chewing gum that’s full of sugar is bad for dogs, then what about sugar free chewing gum?
Sugar free chewing gum always gets promoted and marketed as a lifesaver for anyone that doesn’t want all of that excess sugar in their bodies, so what would happen if we would feed our dogs sugar free chewing gum?
Well, again, the problem here isn’t only in the sugar levels that chewing gum contains. You could feed your dog gum that contains a bucket-load of sugar, or you could feed your dog gum that promises to contain only traces of sugar – but guess what? The gum brand that promises to give a heavenly taste with only traces of sugar in it is exactly the company that will be using tons of artificial sweeteners that we talked about above (again, most commonly of which and most dangerously among is Xylitol).
So, unfortunately, this isn’t a matter of whether you feed your dog sugar free gum or gum that’s packed with sugar. Either way you choose to go, your dog is still going to get really ill down the line, there’s no doubt about that.
What Do I Do If My Dog Ate Gum?
So, now that we’ve covered the terrible reasons why your dog should NEVER get anywhere close to chewing gum, what do you do if your dog ate gum on their own and without you knowing about it?
As we all know, not all dogs that eat gum are given gum by their owners, some dogs just find their way into a pack of gum without the knowledge of their owner, and do whatever it is their heart pleases.
First off, let’s cover some repercussions that will happen if your dog ate gum, which you can observe within as little as 15-30 minutes after your dog ate gum:
- Decreased coordination abilities
- Collapse (due to sudden and devere drop in blood sugar levels)
- Worst of all, even death
What you need to do is directly tell your veterinarian or the animal care center you know about it so can tell you whether the situation at hand is serious enough to warrant a visit or whether you can solve it on your own at home.
It’s not necessarily always a matter of life or death whether or not you immediately get your dog some professional help, as that almost always depends on exactly how much chewing gym your dog actually swallowed, but it’s better to be safe than sorry in such cases.
Sure, sometimes the worst case scenario that happens is that your dog gets constipated and you only find that out after you’ve taken them to an emergency pet care center, but what if your dog was greatly intoxicated and you had waited a significant amount of time before you took them to a professional? I’d rather be safe and go through the first scenario rather than risk my dog’s life going through the second scenario.
We completely understand the issue with veterinary visits and the hefty bills that come along, which is why you should use the facts you have at hand to decide whether or not you should bring your dog to the veterinary immediately.
So, use your best judgement based on the knowledge of how much gum your dog has actually swallowed and whether or not they’re showing extremely weird symptoms that they rarely ever show, because if they’ve swallowed a whole lot of gum and/or are showing symptoms they rarely ever show, then they almost always need to get immediate treatment due to intoxication.
If your dog has eaten a sizable amount of gum pieces, you have to act immediately because the Xylitol doesn’t need too much time to take its toll on your dog’s body and time is not your friend in this case.
The longer it takes before you get your dog treated, the more serious the situation becomes and the higher are the chances of them developing serious health issues mentioned above.
Typically, the veterinarian or animal health care professional will induce vomiting in your dog to rid their system of the gum they just ate, which is especially true when your dog consumes a large amount of it. What this does is remove the gum from their system before it gets the chance to become toxic and potentially fatal to your canine.
In some more extreme cases of toxicity due to swallowing chewing gum, some dogs will require hospitalization and proper monitoring so they can be treated as necessary.
Feeding Your Dog Chewing Gum Because Of Bad Breath
As we talked about in a section above, giving your dog chewing gum because they have bad breath is something you should never, ever do.
There are much safer ways to go about solving this problem (ones that work way better as well), such as special toothbrushes and special toothpaste for dogs that have bad breath.
Also, instead of trying to solve the problem that appears on the surface with giving your dog gum to suppress their bad breath, you should take this as a chance to have your veterinarian check on your dog for potential underlying health problems that could be causing this bad breath.
Giving your dog something like gum to improve the smell of their breath is only a temporary solution to the problem, you should think about a permanent solution to the problem instead.
One Final Note About Dogs Eating Chewing Gum
As always is the case when it comes to stuff dogs eat, you should make extra effort to make it very hard for them to reach wherever you keep any chewing gum.
Many dog owners make the mistake of keeping chewing gum within easy reach of their dogs, such as on a table in a room your dog is always in or on a shelf your dog can easily get to, not knowing that their dog can easily see the pack of gum, get hold of it and gobble down the whole thing in one instant.
So, don’t leave any chewing gum easily exposed to Fido!