I had never heard of xylitol before that one day in September of 2016. That was the day my dog, Magoo, had decided to consume an entire package of Ice Beakers gum, something he had never done before. I never would have thought that leaving package of gum out would result in Magoo consuming it, much less being deadly to him.
It was an ordinary day, and when it was bedtime for my daughter, Magoo and the other dogs and I went to tuck her into bed as usual. Afterwards, I noticed something wasn’t right with Magoo. He was suddenly very wobbly, his eyes were glazing over and he collapsed. I noticed a package of Ice Breakers gum/mints on the floor that had been chewed up and all the gum was gone. Clearly, Magoo had somehow gotten a hold of this, which was odd, because he had never sought out this gum or anything like it in the past. And of course, I had never thought that leaving a pack of gum out would cause anything like this. I immediately started the car and headed off to the emergency vet clinic. On the way, Magoo was having seizures. This was all a total shock as he hadn’t been sick or anything like that. It was all very sudden. Here we were, going through our normal evening routine, and then we find ourselves in this horrible situation.
At the vet clinic Magoo was in bad shape. The vets asked if he had gotten into anything and I showed them the package of gum. They immediately knew what was happening – an ingredient in the gum, xylitol, had poisoned him. He was in bad shape and they began administering fluids and doing tests. The results of the tests were not good. Not good at all. His liver levels were off the charts and things were looking grim. The vets said they didn’t know if Magoo would pull through, and it would require a lot of treatment to try and save him. I told them to do absolutely everything they could.
Magoo would spend the next 10 days in intensive care at the vet clinic. He’s a fighter and he managed to pull through. He then required weekly blood tests to check his liver levels. Over the next month the numbers improved and Magoo, at 8 years old, was able to survive that unexpected and awful event. And the culprit in this ordeal was something i’d never heard of before – xylitol.
Xylitol is an ingredient that is found in many sugar-free items, including many gums, candies and various other consumables. It has the approximate sweetness of sucrose, but it much lower in calories. In humans, it’s a perfectly “normal” artificial sweetener. In dogs, however, it’s toxic, much like chocolate. And it doesn’t take much to become toxic. The amount of product and toxicity will depend of many variables, but Magoo, at approximately 35 lbs had consumed a whole 40-piece container, which is definitely a massive amount.