Last weekend did not go as planned in the Slaven household. Our fourteen pound Yorkie, Preston, decided it would be a treat to eat nearly half a pack of Orbit sugar free chewing gum.
Normally, we put him in a bedroom if we leave the house, but after a successful Saturday morning walk and knowing we wouldn’t be gone long, we decided not to.
Unfortunately for all, my work bag was sitting open on the floor, complete with a pack of gum in the front pocket.
Preston put his little head right in the bag and pulled out the entire pack, (which was thankfully about half full), and consumed every last bit except the cardboard package, (wrappers included).
When we opened our front door, Preston was sulking in the corner looking as guilty as ever and the shredded packaging was lying in the middle of the living room.
My husband immediately asked me if the gum was sugarless, confusing me at first. What was left of the package contained no indication of the sugar content, so we had to act quickly.
After some quick research online, we learned the Orbit gum was likely sugarless, and how sugar free gum is actually worse for dogs than regular gum.
We tried to remain calm and not delve too deeply into the horror stories we found on many forums, and piled into the car hoping a local vet might still be open.
To our disappointment, neither of our local vets were open that late on a Saturday. However, as we sat and panicked in the parking lot of Bloomfield Veterinary Clinic, my husband saw a telephone number flash across a marquee.
The number led us to another number, which led us to yet another number for an animal emergency hot line.
We were able to speak with a Veterinarian out of Terra Haute in a matter of minutes, from the Animal Emergency Clinic of Terra Haute.
She asked us how much our dog weighed and how long ago he had consumed it. She then told us to go home and give our dog about 2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting--and we had to act fast.
We rushed home as quickly as we could and luckily found some hydrogen peroxide hiding in the back of the medicine cabinet.
Feeling like bickering parents and trying to remain calm for our furry child, my husband held Preston’s mouth open as I spooned some hydrogen peroxide down his throat.
The entire ordeal had started to catch up with us at this point, and we tried our best to console our dog into vomiting up what he had thought of as quite the treat.
After a few minutes of retching as some neighbors peered on from a distance, Preston produced a small pile of chewing gum and white foam.
He proceeded to vomit about 6 more times before retiring inside to the love seat where he sat pathetic, shaking and confused.
Panic mode ensued once again, and we called the same animal hot line number. We were able to speak to the same Veterinarian we had spoken with before, and she assured us we had done the right thing and that our dog was now reacting the same way a human would after being so ill.
Preston made it through his chewing gum episode, but not every dog is so lucky. The horror stories I alluded to earlier told of dogs meeting their death after eating from pies made with artificial sweeteners, and even small dogs dying from eating less gum than Preston did.
We like to think of ourselves as responsible pet owners, yet when this emergency situation arose, we had no idea what to do.
Obviously, being proactive is the best way to ensure your pet’s safety, but accidents do happen.
We are so grateful to the animal hot line for being so quick, polite and understanding. I hate to think what could have happened if we hadn’t been able to find out the correct information so quickly, therefore allowing us to act quickly and save our beloved pet’s life.
The animal emergency telephone number is 812-242-2273.
Kelly is a Staff Writer for the Greene County Daily World. She can be reached by telephone at (812) 847-4487, or she can also be reached via email at kslavenGCDW@outlook.com.