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Handy hints on how to keep your dog safe from dangers of chocolate this Easter

By Alan Beresford

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Your dog may love chocolate but it's a sweet treat that could kill. Picture: DGS
Your dog may love chocolate but it's a sweet treat that could kill. Picture: DGS

CHOCOLATE may be a delicious treat for us humans but it’s sadly not one to share with our pets.

With Easter weekend here, we’re likely to have more chocolate around the house or hosting Easter egg hunts in the garden.

So it’s important to keep an eye on our curious pups and recognise the symptoms of chocolate poisoning.

Dr Corinne Wigfallat Petsure shares some warning signs that your canine friend might have eaten chocolate:

“A chemical called theobromine is what makes chocolate toxic to dogs. The darker the chocolate, the higher the level of theobromine and the more toxic it is.

“Chocolate can be poisonous to dogs, even in small amounts. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive panting and thirst, hyperactivity, tremors, irregular breathing and even seizures. In severe cases, chocolate poisoning can be fatal.”

What to do if you suspect chocolate poisoning

Dr Wigf said: “The most important thing is to act quickly as time is crucial. Contact your vet or the nearest emergency vet clinic immediately.

“If possible, you should also note the type and amount of chocolate eaten, as well as when it was eaten. Your dog’s size will impact how severely they’re affected by the amount of chocolate they have eaten.

“Never try to make your dog vomit up the chocolate at home. Common remedies like hydrogen peroxide or salt can make your pet very unwell and not always be effective. Veterinary surgeons have access to safe, effective medications that can make your dog sick and remove the potentially toxic chocolate before it can cause any harm.”

Safe alternatives for your dog this Easter

“Although your dog can’t have chocolate, here are some ideas for safe Easter treats that your pup can snack on:

Carrot sticks: Crunchy and healthy - just make sure you supervise your dog while eating to avoid choking and keep carrot pieces small.

Frozen fruits: Bananas, blueberries, and strawberries are tasty and refreshing frozen treats in small quantities.

Homemade dog biscuits: You can bake these with dog-safe ingredients like oats, bananas, and natural peanut butter (make sure it’s Xylitol free).

Commercial dog chews: Choose safe, long-lasting chews appropriate for your dog's size and chewing habits. Ask your vet for a recommendation if you are unsure of the best chews to feed.

Always check with your vet before feeding your dog anything new to make sure it suits their dietary needs.

What other Easter treats pose a threat to our canine friends?

“Chocolate isn’t the only Easter treat that can be poisonous to dogs. Hot cross buns are another sugary treat we should be keeping away from our canine friends.

“Dried fruits found in hot cross buns - including raisins and currants - may be poisonous and can cause kidney failure in dogs in very small amounts. Even one raisin can be enough to cause non-reversible kidney damage in dogs. Contact your vet straight away if you suspect your pup has eaten any dried fruit.”

Remember, prevention is key. Keep chocolate and other toxic items out of reach of your dog. Make sure the whole family understands the risks of these foods for your pup. With care and safe alternatives, your dog can enjoy a happy and healthy Easter celebration.”

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