Yesterday, our sweet chocolate lab, Shenley (who is only 4 1/2 years old), was rushed to the emergency vet after consuming a few dozen pieces of icebreakers ice cube chewing gum. The Animal Poison Control Center reported that only SEVEN pieces of that gum is toxic. She had eaten the gum and wrappers no more than 20-30 minutes before we found her laying in a coma-like state of shock in the backyard, foaming at the mouth and barely responsive. On the way to the emergency room, she began to go into severe seizures - it was a horrible and traumatic experience for all of us. Once she was admitted, they tried pumping and flushing out her stomach which didn't work, since the gum was sticking to her stomach. They removed some more of it, but her liver failed. They gave her several I.V.s and plasma, and thankfully, we have an amazing team of vets on duty that did everything they could and more to get the gum out of Shenley's stomach in hopes that her liver will repair itself.
She is still hooked up to I.V. and has a tube in her that goes directly to her heart but I am happy and much relieved to say that after a very, very long night - one that we all honestly expected her not to make it through - she seems to be doing better, and that she will survive.
XYLITOL - It is a "naturally occurring" sweetener that is found in some fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, and often obtained through birch trees' bark. Humans also make it apparently and it is "good" for human teeth. It was the number one ingredient in the gum that Shenley consumed. Xylitol is EXTREMELY lethal to dogs in fairly small amounts. It causes liver failure which is why Shen was so sick. Many dogs have died from consuming xylitol. It is found in grapes (and raisins) and we found it on the packages of Orbit gum as well. Check your toothpastes too!
Please help to spread the word to other dog lovers & owners so they can be aware of this scary poison! It is our responsibility to make sure our beloved friends don't get into it seeing as how most will eat just about anything:) I would check your gum, candy, toothpaste, etc. (esp. ones that say sugar free or low calorie) and throw it out altogether if you have dogs around. Believe me, it is not worth it!!! We are so thankful our Shen survived this - it truly is a miracle as all the articles we've read on the subject have dogs who have not.
And I think this stuff is not great for us humans, either. We absorb 50% off it into our systems (while dogs absorb 100%), so if it only takes 7 pieces to make a medium-sized dog very sick, just think what a few sodas, muffins, and few pieces of gum with that stuff must do to our bodies. I'd rather have real sugar in smaller amounts than chemical stuff...anyway, that's just me - but to keep it in mind for your dogs is much more important!!"