A Keynsham family’s dog nearly died after munching his way through a tub of chewing gum.
Jodie Deason, who works at The Week In, returned home after popping out last Tuesday to find their Springer Spaniel Monty had got hold of the unopened tub, chewed through the plastic and eaten all but one of the 100 small pieces of fruit-flavoured gum.
Jodie and husband Jason were alarmed as Monty began staggering around. They loaded him into the car and rushed him to their vets in Park Road. There they were told that chewing gum contains a sweetener called xylitol. While typically harmless to adults, it is toxic to dogs, lowering their blood sugar levels which can lead to liver failure and death.
At the vet’s Monty went into seizure and was given three injections of glucose to bring his sugar levels up, along with fluid through a drip. He was transferred from Bath Vet Group’s Keynsham surgery to their hospital at Rosemary Lodge in Bath where he spent two days being monitored. He is now recovering from his ordeal at home and Jodie says she wants to make everyone aware of how deadly this ingredient can be to dogs.
It can also be found in toothpaste, mints, gummy vitamins and some peanut butter.
Jodie said: “We got Monty to the vets very fast but we were so shocked at how fast this poison had got a hold of him. He must have only eaten them about 30 minutes before we got home. He had a very distressing seizure at the vets which was horrid to watch but both the vet and nurse at Park Road were calm, professional and acted fast to treat him.
“I really did think he was going to die in front of us. They really did save his life that day. If we hadn’t come home when we did, it doesn’t bear thinking about what might have happened. I cannot believe that such a toxic poison to animals doesn’t carry a warning on the packaging.
“When I picked him up from the vets on Thursday they also said xylitol is a sugar substitute that people are using in home baking.”
This week vet Jade Lawrence, who works at Bath Vet Group’s hospital, said: “Xylitol or E967, a sugar-free and sweetening ingredient found commonly in chewing gum, food, human medicine and supplements, can be severely toxic to dogs.
“When eaten by a dog, xylitol can cause a sudden drop in blood glucose levels, resulting in symptoms of hypoglycaemia, e.g. weakness, lethargy, collapse, vomiting, tremors and seizures. A result of this can be acute liver failure and you may notice your pet’s skin and gums turn yellow (jaundice). The symptoms can develop within 15 to 60 minutes after the xylitol containing product is swallowed so you must act fast and seek veterinary attention.
“The quickest thing to do is call your vet or the Animal Poison Line on 01202 509000, to determine what action is needed. It is likely that your animal may be made to vomit to remove the contents of their stomach, then have a series of blood tests to make sure that they do not develop low blood glucose levels.
“Some animals may need to be kept on an intravenous fluid drip. As just one piece of chewing gum has the potential to be fatal to a small dog, keeping bags up high and products out of reach can help save your pet’s life.”