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Hub Pages May Have Saved My Dog's Life

Updated on June 8, 2011
Roxy, a smart dog who gets into more than her share of trouble. Here she anticipates the "shake" command...
Roxy, a smart dog who gets into more than her share of trouble. Here she anticipates the "shake" command...
Xylitol is not the first ingredient listed in Stryde, but it is one of the artificial sweetners
Xylitol is not the first ingredient listed in Stryde, but it is one of the artificial sweetners
IceCubes are a popular brand of gum, in a novel "cube" shape. They contain xylitol
IceCubes are a popular brand of gum, in a novel "cube" shape. They contain xylitol
Not all Orbit gum contains xylitol, so read ingredients carefully
Not all Orbit gum contains xylitol, so read ingredients carefully
Like Orbit, some Trident gum does not contain xylitol. Best to read the label.
Like Orbit, some Trident gum does not contain xylitol. Best to read the label.
Hydrogen peroxide solution, an effective way to induce vomiting in dogs. Always be sure the situation warrants this action before proceeding.
Hydrogen peroxide solution, an effective way to induce vomiting in dogs. Always be sure the situation warrants this action before proceeding.
Blood glucose issues usually happen in the first 12-24 hours, then liver issues can take up to 72 hours to manifest.
Blood glucose issues usually happen in the first 12-24 hours, then liver issues can take up to 72 hours to manifest.
Hopefully we got to Roxy fast enough, and she will continue to enjoy the health she had as a puppy.
Hopefully we got to Roxy fast enough, and she will continue to enjoy the health she had as a puppy.

In the Blink of an Eye

Before I go into Roxy's story, let me give a shout-out to the hub that quite possibly saved her life: Mrs. Menagerie's Xylitol: Sugarfree Gum Can Kill Your Dog! I was hub hopping one night and came upon this particular hub. Frankly, I didn't believe it. I've been a dog owner for decades, and have even been active now for three years in a dog rescue group. And I had never heard of xylitol being so deadly that 2-3 sticks of chewing gum could kill a dog. After all Roxy, one of my own dogs, regularly tried to raid my purse for gum (she loves mint) and has been successful on more than one occasion. Before I even rated Mrs. Menagerie's hub, I confess I went to Snopes to see if this was just a rumor. It was not. There are documented cases all over the Internet about people losing their beloved dogs to xylitol poisoning. I rated the hub up, posted the info on Facebook for my friends who might not know this, looked up what brands contained xylitol (not the brands I chewed, thankfully, that is why we had experienced no problems), and basically didn't think about this any more.

Till Sunday. My parents had come to church with us to be present for a special service honoring the church's high school graduates (of which my son is one). Afterward, we decided to treat ourselves to lunch out. We debated staying in town or driving to the next town, and in the end decided to stay local (gas prices, you know!). I was unaware that after I went to the car, my son's girlfriend asked if she should bring her purse or leave it at the house. My son told her it was fine where it was, so she left it on a table in our entryway.

We enjoyed a lovely lunch and returned home within the hour. As soon as I opened the front door, I smelled mint. I was confused because I knew my own purse and gum had been with me. But then I saw the wrappers all over the floor, and the contents of Sarah's purse scattered about the living room. My heart started pounding as I realized the gum wrappers were Stryde brand, one of the brands that contains xylitol. There were remnants of two packages on the floor, and I tried to stay calm while asking Sarah how much gum had been left in each pack. My heart just sank as she told me one had never been opened and the other only had about four pieces missing. Xylitol gum ingestion has been known to be fatal to 30-pound dogs at a dose of 2-3 sticks. Roxy, 45 pounds, had just eaten 24 sticks.

To Induce Vomiting in a Dog

I knew the first thing to do would be try to induce vomiting. Years ago we had a dog who had eaten a bag of Dove Chocolates, and our vet had us use hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting. I looked up the procedure and dose online. If you every need to do this with your own dog, try to get them to eat first. Extra food in the stomach helps the animal vomit more effectively. Roxy has always eaten everything in sight (obviously) so it was no problem to quickly get her to gobble a bowl of food. One never knows how much to trust Internet sources for things such as medication doses, but I found more than one site stating the dosage for a dog is 3-5 cc per 20 pounds of body weight (approximately 3/4 to 1 teaspoon) of 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. You are supposed to get the liquid to the back of the dog's throat, where he or she has no choice but to swallow. The suggested method for doing that is to use a medication syringe. I did not have one, but I did have an old hollow-handled spoon I used to use to give my kids Tylenol. I poured 10 cc into the spoon handle, took Roxy outside, tilted her head back, pried her mouth open and poured the liquid down the back of her throat. I held her muzzle shut till she swallowed. Instant success! Roxy vomited four times, and each pile was full of gum and wrappers (and quite fragrantly minty!).

How Does Xylitol Harm a Dog?

Xylitol is a wonderfully after taste-free sugar substitute found in certain sugarfree gums, mints, cookies and candies. It does not have an adverse effect on human glucose levels, or most other animals. Cats do not seem to be affected by it. But it is deadly to dogs. Xylitol causes harm on basically two fronts: 1. It causes an immediate hyper production of insulin, therefore a drastic drop in blood sugar; and 2. It can cause liver failure. Liver damage is not immediately evident, but the liver can slowly stop functioning effectively to the point of complete shutdown. And the dog's blood clotting factor can be seriously affected by the non-functioning liver. Liver damage is easier to prevent than reverse, and the cost of both can be prohibitive (with no guaranteed results).

Time is of the essence with xylitol poisoning, as the insulin production overload can begin in as little as 30 minutes after ingestion. The tragedy of this is that many people have no idea that their dog has eaten gum (or the wrong brand of gum) and don't know why the dog is lethargic or having other symptoms. By the time the culprit is discovered, it is often too late for effective treatment.

Where it Stands with Roxy

After Roxy vomited, I was still concerned as we had been gone for nearly an hour. It looked like all the gum came back up, but I did not know how much might have already been absorbed into her system. Since she had eaten such a large amount, I called a 24-hour vet hospital for guidance. They wanted me to bring Roxy in and have her under observation for the next 48 hours at a minimum. During that time they were going to monitor her blood glucose level continually, and administer glucose if necessary. They would also be checking liver enzymes, and at the first sign of elevation, they would begin preventive treatment for the liver. I live an hour from the hospital, and asked her what I should do if Roxy had a sugar crisis while we were driving there. The woman on the phone told me to take a bottle of honey with me to squeeze into her mouth, but that would "buy me 1/2 hour at best."

I thought that was about as scared as I could get, but then I asked her what the average cost for the next 48 hours of suggested treatment would be. She said depending on the outcome anywhere from $1,200 to $1,800. I simply hung up the phone. We are not in a financial position to spend nearly $2,000 on something that is not even a guaranteed outcome, no matter how much we love our dog.

Symptoms of Blood Glucose Crisis and Liver Issues

It has now been 54 hours since "the incident" and although she was not as peppy as normal through that first evening, Roxy seems completely normal right now. She has continued to eat and drink normally, and never had any of the serious symptoms we were supposed to be watching for. These include:

(First 12-24 hours for Blood Glucose Issues)

  • Lethargy
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Confusion
  • Unsteady Gait
  • "Glazed eye" Appearance
  • Rapid Heartbeat
  • Seizures or Convulsion

(Next 72 Hours)

  • Lethargy
  • Loss of Appetite
  • No Thirst or Excessive Thirst
  • Abdominal Swelling
  • Yellowish Tinge to Whites of Eyes
  • Yellowish Tinge to Gums

The Waiting Game

I believe in my heart (because I have to) we got to Roxy fast enough that she will not suffer ill effects. It's possible she had just polished off that gum as we walked in the door, and that is what I have to go with for now. So far, so good, but I know we are not through the liver issue gauntlet as far as our time frame. But it seems to me that since Roxy did NOT have the blood glucose issues, it makes no sense that only her liver would be affected. Time will tell, but I'm feeling very positive.

Help Spread the News!

I can't thank Mrs. Menagerie enough for writing her hub. If I had NOT read about the xylitol issues, I would have come home from that lunch, rolled my eyes that Roxy had snagged some more gum, and gone about my day. And she would be gone.

Prevention is obviously the best weapon we have. I'm very careful to keep my purse up and zipped, yet even the most careful person gets distracted and slips up. And a smart dog who is watching never misses an opportunity to grab what she wants. Sarah feels terrible that Roxy got the gum, but holy cow, she didn't know! It was just one of those things. But now we will have to be even more vigilant because Roxy will remember she likes the stuff Sarah keeps in her purse.

Personally, I never buy the gum that contains xylitol. Or if I do I only keep it at work or places where no dogs could accidentally get to it. But education can equal prevention. So make sure all the dog lovers in your life know about this deadly ingredient. And if you get a chance, stop by and thank Mrs. Menagerie for sharing a couple of months ago!


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    • ayah soliman78 profile image

      ayah soliman78 5 years ago from Canada

      Thank you for the heads up!!! I appreciate your article...especially that I have a year old pup that eats everything in sight!!! And I am a gum eater!! I will warn my kids too !! Great info!!!

    • OldRoses profile image

      Caren White 5 years ago from Franklin Park, NJ

      Great hub! I didn't know this. As a gardener, I am always warning people about mulch made of cocoa shells. People seem to know that chocolate is deadly for their pets, but they don't seem to realize that cocoa shells are chocolate. Who knew that chewing gum could be just as dangerous?

    • Marissa Adams profile image

      Marissa Adams 5 years ago from Mahomet, Illinois

      Great info, I had no idea. I have owned dogs most of my life and I thought that I was pretty knowledgeable, but I had no idea about the gum.

    • jlpark profile image

      Jacqui 5 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks for sharing this information, and to the original hub as well. OUr dogs have eaten dark chocolate previously - an interesting trip to the vet with hyper dogs, chocolate smelling vomit, and some hungover looking dogs (and $200 broker) on the way home - we still have our boys.

      I was not aware of the gum issue. You have provided useful information on self-treating as well. I will be coming back to this hub in the case of chewing gum ingestion. Thanks

    • Becky Bruce profile image

      Becky Bruce 5 years ago from San Diego, CA

      What an incredible story of how hubpages literally saved Roxy's day--- and life!!! My cat is obsessed with gum, in fact I have to always keep my purse up and away- the gum zipped in a special compartment- because otherwise I find her up to no good. Although I'm not sure if the same applies to cats, I'm guessing so, this will make me even more careful from now on!!! Thanks :)

    • BlissfulWriter profile image

      BlissfulWriter 5 years ago

      I'm sharing this story. Because not many people know that Xylitol is toxic to dogs.

    • Lovelovemeloveme profile image

      Lovelovemeloveme 5 years ago from Cindee's Land

      Good HUb. I didn't know dogs couldn't eat chocolate and gum. thanks

    • prettynutjob30 profile image

      Mary 5 years ago from From the land of Chocolate Chips,and all other things sweet.

      Great informative hub my dog has a bad habit as well of eating my gum she likes to get in the garbage can and grab my old gum.I used to just laugh about it because she literally chews it.I am definitely going to be more careful now if you don't mind I am going to share this hub.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 5 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Thanks for spreading the word about the dangers to dogs of xylitol. (And I'll thank Mrs. Menagerie, too.) I hope Roxie will be okay and not have any liver damage from her ingestion of xylitol.

      The high cost of veterinary treatment is the reason I pay a monthly premium to keep pet healthcare insurance coverage for my dog. I never want the cost of a medical procedure to prevent my beloved pet from getting treatment if she has a serious condition. Of course, even if you were to get pet insurance now, it would not cover liver failure that resulted from the xylitol Roxie ate; that would be a pre-existing condition. I will join you in thinking positively--that her liver will be okay because her blood glucose was okay.


    • PurvisBobbi44 profile image

      PurvisBobbi44 5 years ago from Florida


      Thanks so much for writing this---as I try to keep everything out of the way, because my little Sweetie Angel a Pom---gets into everything.

      I was always careful about gum because since he loved the smell of it so much---I stopped chewing it around him. And he went into my tote one time an ate a peppermint.

      I pray that Roxy will be fine--- he is a beautiful animal.


      Your Hub Friend,

      Bobbi Purvis

    • lindalou1963 profile image

      Linda 5 years ago from Texas

      thank you so much for sharing this. I have two dogs who live inside and I would be devastated if anything happened to either of them. I'm going to share also. Voted up!!

    • Simba73 profile image

      Simba73 5 years ago from UK

      That looks a clone of my dog Fritz who saved my life when I was 2 years old,how trippy!! I was drinking anti-freeze in my Nans garage and he knew I was not allowed in there so went mental and got my nan out of the home, and barked and guided her to the garage where I was lugging it down , straight to hospital and the paramedics wanted to give our dog a medal !!

      Sorry I have not even read your hub yet but the photo reminded me of the story, I can't remember it but it's a big family story, I will dig out a photo of me and Fritz apparently he never left my side when I was a toddler.


    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 5 years ago

      Great and useful hub! There are many things that are poisonous to dogs and I am always interested in finding out more of them. My labradoodle Max will eat anything so we have to be very careful. We have used hydrogen peroxide more than once on him. Thanks.

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 5 years ago from Oakley, CA

      I just came across your article today, despite how long ago you apparently wrote it. Here's hoping that Roxy is still just fine!

      This is scary stuff, indeed. We no longer have a dog, but I'll be sharing this one all over the place, as I know plenty of folks who do have dogs!

      Vote up, interesting useful and awesome. I'll be sure to check out Msr.Menagerie's hub, and share that one, as well...Oh, DANG!! It's gone--the link is broken--Google 'can't find' that article from your link. :-(

    • MyMastiffPuppies profile image

      MyMastiffPuppies 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing your story, you never know who it might help!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      So glad to read that Roxy is doing okay. I had no idea that the ingredients in sugar free gum could harm a dog let alone kill a dog. Wow. My two dogs used to eat everything in sight when they were younger. I'll definitely share your hub on FB, Pin it and share it here on HubPages. Thank you for writing this and to Mrs. Menagerie too.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 5 years ago from America

      I have never heard about the gum how amazing that you knew it was bad because of hubpages. If I had not read your hub and my dog ate gum I would have not thought anything of it. Voted Up and needs to be shared.

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 5 years ago

      Wow, that was some story. You had me on the edge of my seat with this story. I am glad you are spreading the word and glad that Hub pages helped you. It was amazing that you had read that article beforehand.

      I hope things are still well with Roxy, and the rest of your family. Thanks for a well written hub and for sharing your story.

    • dearabbysmom profile image

      dearabbysmom 6 years ago from Indiana

      Thank you so much for reading, and for your comments. You are right, our pets are part of the family. I just felt my heart stop when I realized what she had done, and am so thankful for the good outcome.

    • dearabbysmom profile image

      dearabbysmom 6 years ago from Indiana

      Thank you for reading and your comments. I have been continuing to tell everyone I know and still so many people have not heard this!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 6 years ago

      First, I am so glad to hear Roxy is doing well and does not appear to have suffered harm from ingesting the gum. I know how important a family member pets are and this would have been a real tragedy. I know people feed their pets table scraps, chocolate and other such treats and believe it is harmless. When we had pets, we would only allow them to eat what the vet recommended. Believe me, we saw them suffer if they ingested food scraps. This hub is a great read for the defense of animal safety. Voted up!

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Thank you for sharing your story. Its scary when our pets get into things like that! Its good to know, especially on a weekend (for me!) we have options of things to at least try to help our pets through such an ordeal. So glad you shared this.

    • dearabbysmom profile image

      dearabbysmom 6 years ago from Indiana

      Thank you so much kimh039! I keep trying to spread the word about this gum and many people do not know about this.

    • kimh039 profile image

      Kim Harris 6 years ago

      I'm really glad you read that hub and that your dog is ok. This was an interesting and unusual hub. I like how you developed the situation into a story; and a well written one:) Thanks.

    • manthy profile image

      Mark 6 years ago from Alabama,USA

      Thanks for the information. I din't know that,

      Nice pics too

    • dearabbysmom profile image

      dearabbysmom 6 years ago from Indiana

      Thank you VM, I think so too!

    • Vitamin Monkey profile image

      Vitamin Monkey 6 years ago from San Francisco, CA

      cute puppy!!!

    • dearabbysmom profile image

      dearabbysmom 6 years ago from Indiana

      Sharyn, Roxy is A-OK and I feel pretty good, too. Glad to see you and hope all is well with you, too :)

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 6 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA


      Great article here! I saw Mrs. M's title months ago but did not take the time to read the article. Thanks to you both for such important information. Hope all continues to be well with Roxy (and you too :)!


    • dearabbysmom profile image

      dearabbysmom 6 years ago from Indiana

      Thank you Mar, I will give her that hug and am tickled to do so. We are feeling very lucky and grateful to HubPages!

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 6 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Oh dearabbysmom, thank goodness all is well with sweet Roxy thanks to your quick action and the knowledge you had! I will also be spreading the word to my many dog loving friends... give her a big ole hug from me!!

      Have a good weekend, mar!

    • dearabbysmom profile image

      dearabbysmom 6 years ago from Indiana

      You are welcome, kashmir56. Roxy is being fun and her usual ornery self tonight, and I'm feeling very grateful for that!

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi dearabbysmom thanks for sharing this information to help other dog owners, glad to hear Roxy is now feeling better !

    • dearabbysmom profile image

      dearabbysmom 6 years ago from Indiana

      Thank you, BPop, for spreading the word. Such a little thing with such potential to go bad! Mrs. M., we are now at 75 hours and Roxy seems completely normal. It's nearly 100 degrees and she just wants me to throw the ball! I can't thank you enoough for writing your hub a couple of months ago. Yes, the cost of treatment was outlandish, thank God a $2 bottle of HP did the trick for us. But timing had everything to do with that, and I remembered from reading your hub that we had to move fast. Thank you, MM for reading. I think Roxy is adorable, but of course I'm biased!

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi dearabbysmom, thank goodness this hub has a happy ending, because I love Roxy already, she looks adorable. Thanks goodness for hub pages and for Mrs M.

    • Mrs. Menagerie profile image

      Mrs. Menagerie 6 years ago from The Zoo

      Hi dearabbysmom! How is Roxy doing now???? I was floored when I read the cost of the vet treatment, unbelievable! I'm glad you were able to induce vomiting with the hp...that was obviously a life saving technique, thank heavens! It almost seems like the info about xylitol made it specifically to you for a reason...up, useful!!!

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 6 years ago

      Happy to hear about Roxy..I'lll spread the word to my friends with dogs.

    • dearabbysmom profile image

      dearabbysmom 6 years ago from Indiana

      Thank you, RTalloni, for your comments and for thanking Mrs. M. I do think it's important to share this!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Great story to share! Not only have you helped sound the warning to dog owners, but you have promoted the cause of writing important hubs.

      So glad Roxie is doing well! Thanks for sharing. Going to thank Mrs. M. now.