Ok, so while it was not intentional, my mom nearly killed my dog yesterday. With gum.
If you’re not a pet owner, you may be unaware of the fatal substance that lurks in sweeteners used in many gum and breath mint products – it’s a little something called xylitol. And that shit is deadly to cats and dogs, especially of smaller sizes. Basically their blood sugar plummets to dangerously low levels, and if they aren’t treated with a dextrose drip nearly immediately, it leads to liver failure and ultimately death. (Full disclosure: I’m not a doctor of any kind. I google.)
So now that I’ve scared the shit out of you, Rigby is fine. But, I want to write about what happened just in case you ever find yourself pulling chewed up gum or breath mints out of Fluffy’s mouth.
My mom watches my little monster a couple of days a week while I’m at work so he can get some exercise. She brings her work over and takes care of business while he’s causing havoc in our home. Apparently, she took a conference call with a client and little Rigby decided it was time to find a snack in her bag. She didn’t know it, but she had gum in a bag in the bottom, and Rigby proceeded to rip the bag open scattering gum everywhere.
Since she was busy when this happened, it was unknown whether he actually consumed it or not. Now, mind you, this happened at 3:30pm while I was at work. She sent me a casual text that was like “hey, if you see mentos in Rigby’s poo this week, don’t be too worried.” Say what?
Fast forward to 7:30. I’m sitting waiting for Dave to finish guitar practice and I have an “oh shit” moment when memories of toxic substances I read about during Rigby’s puppy days flashed through my head. I called my mom – “is there xylitol in the gum he got into?”. “…yes?” Oh crap.
I left D in the dust and rushed to get home to check on the little beast. He was fine. Phew.
I called the Pet Emergency Line/Animal Poison Control (1-888-466-3242 x2 save it just in case you ever need it!) and spoke with a very nice technician who took all of the information I had about the incident and conferred with a veterinarian on staff. They were slightly alarmed, but not enough to warrant an immediate vet trip. I was told to watch for changes in behavior, feed small meals every 2-3 hours, and to keep an eye on him for 12 hours post ingestion (so 3:30pm to 3:30am, yeah, long night).
While we came out of this little scare unscathed, others haven’t been so lucky. In case your dog or cat ever dumpster or purse dives like my little Riggins, here’s what to watch for:
Immediate signs include: staggering walk (like a drunk person), not waking quickly from sleep, staring off into space
More advanced stages of poisoning: body tremors, shaking, loss of coordination, and seizures
If you notice these signs, get thee to the nearest e-vet (which is another good thing to have scoped out in advance, btw!) and on the way, rub pure Maple or Agave syrup on the gums. This helps stabilize the blood sugar for long enough prior to being treated by a professional.
In other FML news, I get the ~privilege~ of being a juror this week. Fingers crossed I don’t get stuck on a two-week trial involving some depraved criminal.
Am I the only one having a FML kind of week so far? Tell me about your FML moments. We can commiserate.