Pet Poison Emergencies

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trinnyWe had a scare with our dog tonight. I walked into the kitchen and saw shreds of pink and white paper and foil lying on the floor.  I could tell that it was the remnants of a pack of chewing gum and the only reason it could be in its present state would be because our dog Trinity had gotten into it.  In the back of my mind, I seemed to recall having read a warning about sugar free gum and dogs so my daughter and I immediately jumped on the internet while I tried to call our vet.  A few phone calls later and I was on the line with the Pet Poison Helpline seeking their assistance in how to handle this.  We learned a few very important lessons – beyond the obvious of keeping the gum out of the dog’s reach.

  1.  Keep a bottle of Hydrogen Peroxide on hand as part of our “pet medicine cabinet”. This is what they had us use to induce vomiting in the dog.  They also had us follow up with some table syrup to make sure she didn’t suffer a drop in blood sugar (as could have been the case with the Xylitol).  For a complete list of items you should keep in your pet poison control kit, click here.
  2. It was unbelievably difficult to find a complete ingredient list online and even the poison control center had trouble locating the information. I ultimately had to go to three different stores to find the product and read the ingredient list right on the package.  It turns out that this particular sugar-free gum doesn’t have Xylitol in it (the particularly toxic ingredient of concern) but we wasted precious time trying to find that out.  It’s a good idea to read up on potential poisons and pet safety ahead of time.  Click here to check out the list of the top ten most frequent dog and cat toxins of 2013 and other helpful information as listed on the Pet Poison Helpline. 
  3. Be prepared to act quickly.  If there had been Xylitol in that gum, by the time we found it out, our dog could have been in serious condition. We’re posting the poison control number on the side of the fridge for easy reference from now on.  And I’m making sure our emergency pet care kit is complete. I had to run to the store to get the Hydrogen Peroxide and again, that used up time that could have been vital in saving our dog’s life.  The number to call Pet Poison Helpline is 1-800-213-6680.  This helpline is available throughout the US, Canada, and the Caribbean for vets and pet owners.  You have to have a credit card available and pay a $39 per case fee as they receive no funding.  This fee includes their consultation with you as well as with your vet as needed. It also includes all followup so you can call back as many times as needed regarding that one particular incident for that one fee.

Xylitol is sugar-free sweetener found in many different products including chewing gum, mints, foods such as pudding and gelatin cups, toothpastes, oral rinses, and certain over the counter supplements.  Signs of Xylitol poisoning in your dog can include: weakness, lethargy, vomiting, tremors, seizures, jaundice, black tarry stools, and can lead to coma or death.  It can cause a drop in the dog’s blood sugar and liver damage.  For more information on Xylitol, click here. 

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18 thoughts on “Pet Poison Emergencies

  1. I did not know that about the Xylitol and thank you for the pet ER kit information.

    I did almost kill my dog with a Junior Mint one time. I was so scared because the vet said either she was going to be OK or she would be lost before we got her to him.

  2. Wow! who would of thought that chewing gum could be poisonous to a dog- that is something good to know that their are things in chewing gum that can cause problems for your pet. Thanks so much for this post!

  3. I had no idea that gum could cause such sickness in a dog I can’t say how much I appreciate the Pet Posin Helpline phone number. I will be forwarding that number to my sister, son and other dediicated pet owners and lovers I know.

  4. Brutus the boxer ata a bag of macadamias and had to go the ER when we frist rescued him.
    The ASPCA of the US has a list of toxic foods/things taht are bad for your pet.

  5. I had a scare like this once with a dog I had named Thor, I stayed as calm as I could and I had to call that hotline too. I was terrified. He ate chocolate out of the pantry, after I knew he was fine I sat there with him crying lol

  6. This is great information to keep on hand. I am going to pass this on to my brother since he has a few dogs.

  7. I didn’t know this thanks for the information! A lot of family pets around here are having seizures lately. None of them have ever suffered from seizures either. My dog just passed away from having them :*( I’m starting to wonder if there’s bad pet food out, or maybe something in the water around here? It’s just really weird I think.

  8. Thank you so much for your very informative article on pet poisonings and what to do in an emergency, but better still how to be prepared and prevent those types of emergencies. I did not know that Xylitol was poisonous to pets.

  9. Thank you so, so much for this post! Our dog, Koda, got into some gum just a few days ago. Thank goodness she didn’t show any signs of poisoning, but I am keeping all of this information on hand. Again, thank you so much. I did not know any of this! It is so important to know how to keep our fur babies safe!

  10. Thanks for the information on xylotil because I was not even aware of it in certain foods or of the consequences that can occur if an animal eats it.This was great information to post for everyone and I am so glad to have read this.

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