If your pet has a habit of removing chewing gum from your trash bins, stealing packets from countertops, or if you have been in the habit of sharing gum with your pet, you need to know about Xylitol.
This ingredient will be one of the first things that you will need to check if your dog has eaten your chewing gum and is showing signs of illness.
I have already written about whether another brand of chewing gum, 5 Gum, has any xylitol in it.
What is Xylitol?
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that is naturally found in plants such as vegetables and fruits and is often used as a substitute for sugar in sugar-free products such as mints and chewing gum.
Although it can be used in products for humans, this ingredient can in fact be toxic if eaten by dogs.
Below we will look at what types of Extra gum contain this ingredient, the effect of this ingredient on dogs, and what you should do if your pet has ingested some extra gum containing Xylitol.
Does Extra Gum contain xylitol?
Whether your Extra gum contains xylitol will depend upon the flavour you have chosen.
Some Extra chewing gum flavours use Sorbitol and Glycerol artificial sweeteners which are not toxic to dogs, however, some Extra gum packs do contain xylitol.
You can check our list below for a breakdown of which flavours you need to be more careful about purchasing if you have a dog in the house.
You will find that the Extra Refreshers packs do tend to include Xylitol as an ingredient and if your pet has ingested any of these flavours you need to make sure to contact your vet as soon as possible.
You should always be careful to check the ingredients on the Extra chewing gum packaging itself if you think your dog has ingested gum that may contain xylitol.
This ingredient can also appear on the ingredients list as sugar alcohol.
How many different products are in the Extra Gum range?
There are many different flavour products within the Extra Gum range that contain various ingredients.
Not all chewing gums will contain xylitol, some instead use the artificial sweeteners sorbitol and glycerol.
Here is a breakdown of the main Extra flavour brands and whether they contain the natural sweetener xylitol or the artificial sweeteners sorbitol ad glycerol.
You should always make sure to check the particular packet you have for the most accurate and up-to-date ingredient data on the gum.
Extra Chewing Gum brands containing Xylitol:
- EXTRA Refreshers Spearmint Sugar free Chewing Gum.
- EXTRA Refreshers Berry Mix Sugar free Chewing Gum
- EXTRA Refreshers Mint Mix Sugar free Chewing Gum
- EXTRA Refreshers Tropical Mist Chewing Gum
Extra Gum Flavours Containing Sorbitol and Glycerol Artificial Sweeteners
- EXTRA Polar Ice Sugar free Chewing Gum
- EXTRA Spearmint Sugar free Chewing Gum
- EXTRA Peppermint Sugar free Chewing Gum
- EXTRA Cinnamon Sugar free Chewing Gum
- EXTRA Classic Bubble Sugar free Chewing Gum
- EXTRA Sweet Watermelon Sugar free Chewing Gum
- EXTRA Dessert Delights Mint Chocolate Chip Sugar free Chewing Gum
- EXTRA Polar Ice Sugar free Chewing Gum
How much xylitol do the products contain?
Extra Chewing Gum which contains xylitol will contain between 0.22 to 1 gram of the toxic ingredient per piece of gum.
So, a pack of 10 pieces of gum could potentially contain between 2.2 to 10 grams of the substance.
And how many pieces of Extra Gum does that mean that a dog will need to eat?
For Xylitol to become toxic, only an amount of 0.05 grams would need to be consumed per pound of your pet’s overall weight.
To ingest a toxic amount of the ingredient, a dog weighing 20 pounds would only need to ingest two pieces of gum to have consumed a dangerous level.
What are the other ingredients in Extra Gum?
As you can see from the breakdown of Extra Gum flavours above, the flavours which do not contain Xylitol, contain artificial sweetener ingredients such as sorbitol, hydronated starch, and glycerol, which are non-toxic to dogs.
So, if your dog regularly has a habit of eating food it finds in the trach, on countertops, or in bags, you should opt for chewing gum flavours that contain these artificial sweeteners over those which contain xylitol.
In what other ways is Extra Gum bad for dogs?
Even if your dog has eaten a brand of Extra Gum that does not contain xylitol, there can be other health and digestive problems which may arise.
If your pet has eaten a large amount, it may cause a blockage in their intestines.
This symptom may take a few days to become apparent and will show in a lack of appetite, tenderness around the abdomen area, and vomiting.
If you believe your dog has an intestine blockage you should take them to the vet so they can get an x-ray of the area.
Some sugar alcohols present in gums and sweets are actually non-toxic for dogs if ingested in small amounts but can still cause health problems, these include Erythritol which is non-lethal but can result in gastrointestinal issues for your pet.
Other natural sweeteners such as Stevia can cause diarrhoea.
Although some artificial sweeteners in chewing gums may be less toxic than xylitol, there are still some health issues you should consider if they have ingested larger amounts of some ingredients.
For example, if the gum contains aspartame, this can cause some light gastrointestinal problems for your dog, and overconsumption of Sucralose can cause the same problems.
Artificial sweeteners should be avoided in your pet’s diet whenever possible, as they can lead to an increase in weight and related health issues.
You should be vigilant about your pet potentially stealing sugary or artificially sweetened treats from your table, countertops or rubbish bins.
Why is xylitol poisonous to dogs?
When your dog eats xylitol, the ingredient is very quickly absorbed into the animal’s bloodstream, and this results in a strong insulin release from the pancreas.
This quick release of a large amount of insulin into your dog’s bloodstream results in a rapid drop in blood sugar level which can have a life-threatening effect on your pet if it is left untreated.
The effects of xylitol poisoning can begin to show in as little as ten minutes after ingestion.
What are the signs of xylitol poisoning in dogs?
If your dog has ingested chewing gum that contains xylitol you should immediately take them to your vet even if they are not showing any signs of illness, you should not wait for symptoms to develop.
However, if your dog has eaten chewing gum, it may begin to show the following symptoms.
- Weakness and lethargy
- Loss of co-ordination
- Pale gums or dark red spots on gums
- Tremors and Seizures
- Symptoms of Shock.
What other big brands of chewing gum contain xylitol?
Extra is not the only brand of chewing gum that may contain xylitol.
If a packet of gum displays the term “sugar-free” on the package, there is a chance that it contains this ingredient.
Even if the pack doesn’t explicitly state that it contains xylitol, the ingredient may be included in the ingredients list under the term “sugar alcohol”.
Here are some other brands which you need to be careful about leaving around the home if you have dogs:
If your dog has eaten any of the above or any other chewing gums, you need to check the ingredients and contact your vet as soon as possible if the gum contains xylitol.
What main brands of chewing gum contain no xylitol?
Most sugar-free chewing gums will contain xylitol, when looking for gum you should always check the ingredients for either xylitol or sugar alcohols.
However, there may be certain flavours within a brand which do not contain this ingredient.
Some Extra Gum flavours do not contain xylitol, the Trident brand also has some flavours which do not contain this ingredient.
When selecting your chewing gum, you should always make sure to check the ingredients if you are worried about bringing products containing xylitol into your home.
What other food products is xylitol used in?
As well as chewing gum, there are other everyday foods that you need to be careful of your dog ingesting. These include:
- Cough Sweets and Syrups
- Peanut Butter
- Toothpaste and Mouthwashes
Whether these products contain xylitol and to what level will depend upon the brand, again you should check the ingredients on the pack and watch out both for xylitol and any mention of sugar alcohol when making your purchases.
What other main artificial sweeteners are dog friendly?
While you are avoiding xylitol, there are many artificial products that are used in products that you can feel more confident in purchasing, these include Sorbitol, Glycerol, Molasses, Sucralose, and Monk Fruit.
However, all of these should be included only in moderation in your pet’s diet to ensure they don’t gain too much weight or suffer effects related to over-consumption of these ingredients.