From Dog World

Make sure chocolate is out of dogs’ reach this Easter


AWARENESS of the danger posed to dogs by chocolate is increasing, but vets are still seeing urgent cases where owners are not making sure the confectionery has been placed out of reach.

Chocolate can be highly poisonous to dogs and cats, with dogs most commonly affected, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) said. Easter eggs and similar items contain theobromine – a naturally-occurring chemical found in cocoa beans which dogs, for example, excrete much less effectively than humans.

The level of toxicity is dependent on the type of chocolate, with dark chocolate and cocoa powder being the most toxic, and the smaller the dog the more at risk they are, particularly if they are puppies.



"Every year vets treat thousands of cases of chocolate poisoning in pets and, sadly, the poisoning is sometimes fatal,” said BVA president Robin Hargreaves. "The majority of the cases we see are accidental chocolate consumption. Dogs have a keen sense of smell and can easily hunt down hidden Easter eggs.



"Owners should try to store chocolates well out of reach of their animals to avoid an emergency trip to the vet.

"If anyone suspects their dog has ingested chocolate they should not delay contacting a vet. The quicker we can offer advice and treatment the better. Vets will want to know how much chocolate your dog has eaten and what type.”

The effects of chocolate poisoning in dogs usually appear within 12 hours and can last up to three days.First signs can include excessive thirst, vomiting, diarrhoea and restlessness. These symptoms can then develop into hyperactivity, tremors, abnormal heart rate, hyperthermia and rapid breathing. In severe cases dogs have fits and heartbeat irregularities, and some cases can result in coma or death.

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