It’s one of many pet owners’ nightmares – your dog ate xylitol-filled chewing gum. In my case, Maddux threw up xylitol-filled chewing gum, and did it a half hour before I had to be at my grandfather’s funeral.
The good news is that Maddux is fine. But, panic that set in and series of events that went down after, was so nerve-racking.
It was Tuesday morning and both Toby and Maddux were snuggled up on my bed while I was getting dressed for my Grandfather’s funeral. I walked out of my room to fix my makeup and when I came back in there were three pieces of beige something sitting between Maddux and Toby.
What the hell is that? Who threw that up? What is that? Now this is happening? Really?
Those were the thoughts that immediately went through my mind.
I smelled it and quickly realized it had to be gum. I looked at the clock. It was 8:15 a.m., we were supposed to leave in 15 minutes minutes to be at the funeral home for 9 a.m. and we had to be at the church for a mass starting at 9:30 a.m.
Really, today of all days this is happening?! I’m burying my grandfather on his 99th birthday, and I am going to deal with a dog who has xylitol poisoning? Am I going to have to pick between going to his funeral and staying with my dogs? Maybe I could just put Maddux in his sling and take him with me to the funeral. I could always say he’s an emotional support dog, right?
Immediately, I called the veterinarian. At that point, I was pretty sure it was Maddux who threw it up, but couldn’t be 100 percent sure. The receptionist kept telling me to just observe the dogs, even after explaining I would be at funeral. I completely lost my cool, and finally just told them I would be bringing both dogs to the office and leaving them there for observation. My last words were something like, “I am not coming back from a funeral to find a dead dog!”
The rest was a bit of a blur. Dressed in my black heels and black dress, I threw leashes on Toby and Maddux, picked them up and dumped them in the front passenger seat, and took off. Visibly shaken, once I got the vets office, I apologized for getting so upset and maybe overreacting, but I didn’t want to take a chance. The vet looked them over and then took them in the back, explaining they would do a glucose test and observe them.
When I went to pick them up after that afternoon, the vet walked out and explained I didn’t overreact, and did the right thing for their care.
It ends up, Maddux did get some gum, and it must have gotten in his system. According to the website, Veterinary Partner, “In the canine body, the pancreas confuses xylitol with real sugar and releases insulin to store the sugar. The problem is that xylitol does not offer the extra calories of sugar and the rush of insulin only serves to remove the real sugar from the circulation. Blood sugar levels plummet resulting in weakness, disorientation, tremors, and potentially seizures.”
Maddux’s glucose levels did in fact start to drop compared to when he got there. The good news is that the secondary reaction of the xylitol, hepatic necrosis, which is the destruction of the liver tissue, did not. We know this, because the vet did a blood panel to test to check those levels.
He was a little sleepy and tired the rest of the night, but bounced back quickly the next day, and seemed to be his normal self.
I got lucky, very lucky.
The thing is, I don’t know where he would have gotten the gum. I almost never chew gum, and I am super careful with it if I do. There is always a chance he could have picked it up outside somewhere on one of our walks, but even then, I try to watch anything he put in his mouth.
The lesson here? Trust your instincts, and push for what you believe is right for your dog. You are your dog’s best advocate.