Dog almost dies eating chewing gum sneezed out by her teenage owner - vets issue warning

Chewing gum can be toxic for dogs if it contains a certain sugar substitute - and organ failure can quickly result if owners do not seek veterinary help immediately.

Dog owners across Greater Manchester have been warned not to let their pets eat chewing gum by a family who had a Christmas turned upside down by an emergency rush to the vets for their puppy.

Adorable puppy Rosie, who is a cross between a cocker and a springer spaniel, had to be urgently taken to seek veterinary help on Christmas Eve after a bizarre chain of unlikely circumstances unfolded. It all amounted to a festive nightmare for her devastated family, who fortunately were reunited with a fit and well Rosie once again on Christmas Day.

The veterinary practice which treated her has now told dog owners what to look out for and what to do if their pet consumes chewing gum as time is of the essence.

What happened to Rosie?

The nightmare festive ordeal for cute Rosie and her family unfolded on Christmas Eve. Her owner Cheryl Malone was rushing round the local shop for last-minute items she’d not had a chance to get earlier while son Declan, 14, was taking Rosie for her last walk of the evening on playing fields near their home in Ashton in Makerfield in Wigan.

By freak coincidence, the extra-white bubblemint gum he was chewing went flying out of his mouth, and seconds later six-month-old Rosie was gathering it from the ground thinking it was a tasty snack. However, chewing gum can be highly toxic to dogs if it contains the sugar substitute Xylitol, which the gum Declan had did. Organ failure can be the final result of dogs eating something which Xylitol in if veterinary help is not sought immediately.

Rosie back with her family after her Christmas ordeal. Photo: Vets Now
Rosie back with her family after her Christmas ordeal. Photo: Vets Now
Rosie back with her family after her Christmas ordeal. Photo: Vets Now

Quick-thinking Declan and his sister Leonie, who was out with him, tried to prise the gum from Rosie’s jaws, but the food-obsessed pup was having none of it and promptly swallowed the gum instead.

Declan and Leonie, 17, did some frantic Google searches and phoned their mum, who was juggling shopping bags and couldn’t pick up the call. When they did speak, Leonie explained what she and Declan had googled, and Cheryl immediately called Vets Now.

At 8pm on Christmas Eve, instead of tucking into their mince pies and enjoying some festive TV, the three of them were in the car racing to Vets Now’s emergency 24-hour hospital in Manchester with Rosie.

Was Rosie OK?

The emergency team admitted Rosie straightaway for tests, while the family headed home to wait for news, their Christmas plans in tatters.

“It was awful,” said Cheryl. “We were all so upset. Rosie is our first dog and overnight she’d become an essential part of the family. The three of us just sat there totally miserable and keeping our fingers crossed.”

Christmas Day began the same way - with no Rosie in the house and an anxious wait for updates. Declan, Leonie and Cheryl admitted they were all too distraught by what had happened to open any of their presents. Fortunately, when Vets Now rang on the morning of 25 December, it was good news.

Cheryl said: “About 9am we got the call that Rosie was okay to collect. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Leonie and Declan move so fast. In about 30 seconds they were in the car and off we all went to collect her, which is not how you expect to spend Christmas morning.

“I don’t know who was more overjoyed – us to see Rosie or Rosie to see us! Then we went home to start Christmas – and obviously Rosie got to unwrap her presents first: a new doggie toothbrush and toothpaste, some chewy treats and some toys. And then we unwrapped our stuff – helped by Rosie, who loves ripping the paper off parcels!

“In all seriousness, it ended well – but it’s not a Christmas we’ll ever forget and we’re just so grateful to the team who looked after Rosie. The team were brilliant with her – and us. They kept us up-to-date through the evening with how Rosie was getting on and that helped put our minds at rest.

“Rosie was absolutely fine when we got her home – like nothing had ever happened.”

What did the vets say to dog owners?

Vets Now vet Irina Sofronea said: “Leonie and Declan did absolutely the right thing in raising the alarm straightaway. They showed a lot of maturity in what was a really urgent situation. Every second matters in a potential poisoning case like this.

“Because they got Rosie to us so quickly we were able to swiftly administer medicine to induce sickness and help clear out her tummy. Then we kept her under close observation during the night to make sure there were no signs at all of toxicity.

“This really was such an unusual set of circumstances – who ever would have thought a human sneeze could lead to a pet emergency? But we’re just glad that Cheryl, the kids and Rosie – who was a lovely character - were all able to have their Christmas after all … just a bit delayed!”