Dog Chewing Gum Toxicity

Giving your dog chewing gum is never a good idea. If you find that your pet has consumed some of it, you should know the risks of what could happen and know whether a trip to the vet or a call to poison control is in order.

Why Chewing Gum Is Toxic

Chewing gum contains a sugar alcohol called xylitol. Regular chewing gums contain this, and sugar-free gums are almost 70% xylitol, because it is an artificial sweetener. Many candies use xylitol in their ingredients as well. When xylitol is consumed by humans, there are no effects. When ingested by dogs, it causes a surge of insulin that drops a dog's blood sugar to dangerous levels. If your dog has ingested a large amount of gum, the xylitol could start to damage their liver. This is, essentially, like going into a diabetic coma.

Lethal Amounts of Gum

On average, 3 grams of xylitol can kill a dog as big as 65 pounds. What is considered 'lethal' is hard to determine, as gum manufacturers use different amounts of xylitol in their products. 3 grams could be around ten pieces of gum, or one whole pack. If your dog has gotten to a spare pack of your gum and eaten it all, this could be a cause for worry. Smaller dogs, however, only need to consume as little as two pieces of gum before the dosage starts doing some serious damage.

Symptoms of Poisoning

How much is too much and how do you tell if your dog has reached that point? Symptoms of xylitol poisoning include:

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Coma
  • Seizures
  • Decrease in potassium (hypokalemia)
  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Lethargy and/or depression

If you see any of these symptoms, it is imperative that you contact your veterinarian immediately to avoid death. Symptoms of poisoning occur approximately 30 minutes after ingestion.

Treatment for Gum (Xylitol) Poisoning

Inducing vomiting should be the very first step, to help remove any excess gum in your dog's stomach. If you cannot make it to the vet clinic fast enough, they may tell you over the phone to start inducing vomiting at home. An IV will need to be administered in order to give your dog intravenous fluids to increase their glucose levels. The glucose levels will be monitored for the next 24 hours or so by your vet, to ensure that coma or shock do not occur. Around the 24 hour mark, if your dog's glucose levels and liver values are normal, he can be sent home with you.


Always make sure you keep anything your dog can consume that may harm him stored where he can't access it. This includes chewing gum and candy, as many other sweets contain artificial sweeteners that are toxic to dogs. Toothpaste often contains xylitol, which is why you should only use specific dog toothpaste on his teeth.

Don't assume that because something is in a package, your dog won't bother with it. He can smell it, and doesn't know that it's dangerous to eat.