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otto looking cute, then otto with the vet

Owners fear for Dachshund’s life after he eats chewing gum reading-time-icon 2 min read

Otto the six-month-old Miniature Dachshund was rushed to My Family Vets at Taverham Vets, Norwich, after swallowing five pieces of chewing gum.

His owners sought emergency care immediately after the incident as they were worried Otto would choke, or that the chewing gum would affect his insides. What they didn’t know, however, was that the chewing gum contained xylitol – an ingredient common in sugar-free snacks that’s also highly poisonous to dogs.

Otto was treated successfully by the Taverham Vets team and was allowed to go home on Saturday 19th September – the morning after the incident occurred.

His owner Emma Turner-Fray is keen to stress to owners that when it comes to pets and poisonous substances, you can never be too careful.

‘We’re really experienced, careful dog owners,’ says Emma, a 44-year-old Mental Health Advocate and mother-of-two from Norwich, ‘but we’d never even heard of xylitol before this.’

For Emma, the nightmare began when her daughter innocently left a pack of chewing gum on the side table – a side table that ought to be way too high for a Miniature Dachshund. She’d been out in the garden and when she returned to the living room after just 5 minutes, she noticed an array of chewing gum wrappers on the carpet.

adorable otto lying down

‘He’d used a beanbag to jump onto the table and help himself,’ says Emma. ‘Otto stunk of mint, so we knew it was him who’d eaten it.’

Otto showed no symptoms, but his owner didn’t take any chances. Within less than an hour, they arrived at Taverham Vets.

If ingested, xylitol can trigger a release of insulin in dogs, causing a huge drop in their blood sugar levels. In extreme cases, xylitol poisoning can cause fatal liver damage.

‘There were nine pieces of gum in the pack. My daughters had had one each and there were two remaining, which meant Otto had eaten five!

‘Such a large amount for such a small dog – the vets advised us it didn’t look good.’

As Otto was hospitalised overnight, his family were beside themselves with worry.

‘I couldn’t sleep,’ says Emma. ‘We were devastated – it was the not knowing. When we found out the next day that Otto’s parameters had stabilised and it was safe to go home, we were just over the moon!’

Miraculously, throughout the uproar and upset his owners have been through, Otto has managed to remain himself.

‘It’s inspiring really. It hasn’t damaged his curiosity in the slightest!’

otto being adorable

Otto is still taking medication regularly, and has visited the practice multiple times for further blood tests.

His family – including a second Dachshund who’s 2-and-a-half and knows better than to gobble up something that doesn’t smell right – are very pleased with Otto’s steady recovery.

‘The team at Taverham were absolutely amazing,’ says Emma. ‘It was the first time we’d visited the practice (as OOH clients) and I was very impressed.’

When asked what advice she’d offer to fellow pet owners, Emma said:

‘You’ve got to have eyes on the back of your head. Watch where you put any edibles – you really can never be too careful!’

Looking for a vet in Norwich? Taverham Vets are part of My Family Vets – providing exceptional care for pets and compassionate service for their owners.