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Dog’s life saved after eating five packs of chewing gum

A dog who almost died after eating five packets of chewing gum and collapsing at home is alive thanks to Blue Cross.

Vets at our Victoria animal hospital in central London said Coco is lucky to be alive after the Staffordshire bull terrier ate 30 pieces of sugar-free spearmint gum, which contains a sweetener that is toxic for dogs.

Owner James Michael returned to his home in Vauxhall, south London, to find Coco collapsed in the kitchen and immediately contacted Blue Cross animal hospital in Victoria.

“I knew something was wrong because she usually jumps up at me when I get in the front door,” Mr Michael said. “I found her lying flat on her side on the floor in the kitchen. She looked paralysed.

“I didn’t know chewing gum was poisonous for dogs until the vet at Blue Cross told me I needed to bring Coco in immediately. I was panicking and thinking she wasn’t going to pull through.”

James was thrilled to find out that Coco would be ok after veterinary help from Blue Cross

Five-year-old Coco swallowed the gum after finding the packets in a drawer she managed to pull out while James was out. She had never opened the drawer before and her loving owner thought the gum was safely out of harm’s way.

Sugar-free gum contains a sweetener that is toxic to dogs called xylitol. It is also found in some sweets, mouthwashes, toothpastes and supplements.

Xylitol can induce the release of insulin in the body, resulting in low blood sugar and sometimes liver damage. Signs of poisoning can be rapid or delayed, and include vomiting, lethargy, convulsions and comas. 

Luckily James was able to get Coco to our animal hospital for treatment.

Blue Cross Vet Georgie Herne said: “It’s very lucky that James got Coco to us so quickly. She had eaten quite a lot of gum and we think collapsed after going into glycaemic shock.

“With the amount of gum she had eaten she could have died but we were able to make her vomit and get most of it out of her system along with bits of foil and a bottle top!

"We did X-rays to ensure she had no blockages and then we put her on fluids and monitored her overnight here at the hospital.”

Georgie added that pet owners should be aware of other foods that could poison their pet, especially over the Easter season.

The chemical theobromine is found in chocolate and is toxic to dogs. Even small amounts can cause agitation, hyperexcitability, tremors, convulsions and problems with the heart. Owners who suspect their pets have eaten chocolate should seek medical attention for their pets as soon as possible.

“Many owners aren’t aware of the dangers of foods like chocolate and chewing gum to their pets but they are toxic and in severe cases dogs can experience fits, kidney failure or even death. Such items should be kept well out of the reach of your pet,” Georgie added.

Read more about Easter dangers for dogs.

— Page last updated 25/08/2017