The Easter holidays is a great time for children to enjoy activities filled with surprise Easter egg hunts and chocolatey treats.
As fun as Easter weekend can be for the youngsters, it’s also a time for pet parents to be vigilant that their dogs do not get accidentally poisoned by chocolate.
Veterinarians say that the Easter holidays is the second-busiest time of year for them when it comes to dealing with dogs and chocolate poisoning. In the UK alone, 568 dogs were treated for chocolate poisoning in 2014.
Chocolate is toxic to dogs because it contains the chemical theobromine, which can cause diarrhoea and vomiting but also it can fatally affect the central nervous system, heart and kidneys.
The darker the chocolate, the higher the concentration of the toxic chemical. Therefore white chocolate has the least amount of theobromine, whereas bakers dark chocolate and cocoa has the highest concentration.
To put it in perspective, half a small bar of dark chocolate (around 50g /2 ounces) is enough to kill a small terrier.
That’s why veterinarians are asking dog lovers to be vigilant.
Some tips for keeping your dog out of trouble during Easter weekend include:
- Keep your stash of chocolate eggs, bunnies and other treats locked away and out of reach of your dog
- Parents should educate their kids about the dangers of chocolate to dogs to prevent them from accidentally sharing their treats with their best friends.
- If you are planning a secret treasure hunt, keep a watch on your dog’s whereabouts or put them safely in a room or kennel until the hunt is over.
If your dog does accidentally eat some chocolate symptoms will usually occur from 4 to 24 hours after consuming it.
Their reaction will vary depending on the amount of chocolate (theobromine) your dog has eaten.
Symptoms may include:
- Vomiting (may include blood)
- Restlessness and hyperactivity
- Rapid breathing
- Muscle tension, incoordination
- Increased heart rate
The best advice is to contact your vet if your dog has accidentally eaten chocolate. It will assist your vet in treating your dog if you can tell them the following information:
1) how much chocolate your dog ate.
2) what type of chocolate they ate. If you have the wrapper with the chocolate’s ingredients, bring this along to your vet too.
3) what time did your dog eat the chocolate
4) how much your dog weighs.
These details will help a vet determine whether or not your dog has eaten a toxic dose or not, and what course of treatment your dog may need.
Remember to have a safe holidays with your pets!
Learn what other foods are toxic to dogs in our articles here.