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Chocolate poisonings in dogs are expected to increase by 54% this Easter, vets warn

With Easter just a few days away now, it’s likely you’ve been stocking up on delicious chocolatey treats.

But if you have a dog in your household, make sure you keep any Easter eggs well out of their reach.

Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine that is toxic to dogs, and can cause vomiting, diarrhea and even death in extreme cases.

Worryingly, new data from The Kennel Club shows that chocolate poisonings in dogs are expected to increase by 54 per cent this month.

Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine that is toxic to dogs, and can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and even death in extreme cases (stock image)

Why can’t dogs eat chocolate?

Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine, which is toxic to dogs.

Even small amounts of it can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures and heart problems.

The darker the chocolate, the higher the level of theobromine, and therefore the more toxic it is.

White chocolate, although it does not contain enough theobromine to cause toxicity, is fatty and full of sugar and can pose a potential risk of pancreatitis.

Even without the danger of toxicity, chocolate is not a healthy snack for dogs, causing obesity and poor health, and is therefore best avoided.

Source: Blue Cross

‘As a society of dog lovers, we naturally want to include our pets as part of the festivities,’ said Bill Lambert, a dog health expert at The Kennel Club.

‘However, to make sure Easter remains happy and safe for everyone, we want to raise awareness among dog owners, new and experienced, of certain elements that pose a particular danger to dogs at this time of year.’

Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine, which is toxic to dogs, cats, rabbits and rodents, even in small amounts.

The darker the chocolate, the higher the level of theobromine, and therefore the more toxic it is.

‘The initial clinical effects are vomiting and diarrhoea, which may lead to dehydration given that theobromine is also a diuretic,’ explained the Veterinary Poisons Information Service.

‘Theobromine also stimulates the myocardium and the CNS [central nervous system], leading to hyperactivity and pyrexia, and developing hypertension and severe tachycardia; in extreme cases muscle rigidity, tremors and convulsions may be seen.’

April, on average, sees a 54 per cent increase in dogs being poisoned by chocolate.

This makes it the second highest month for claims after the Christmas period, according to The Kennel Club.

Last Easter, a three-year-old Toy Poodle called Buddy suffered poisoning after eating half a chocolate Easter egg and the sweets inside

Last Easter, a three-year-old Toy Poodle called Buddy suffered poisoning after eating half a chocolate Easter egg and the sweets inside

Last Easter, a three-year-old Toy Poodle called Buddy suffered poisoning after eating half a chocolate Easter egg and the sweets inside.

After noticing Buddy had been sick and was shaking, his family rushed him to the vet, where he was put on a drip, kept overnight, and monitored through to the next day.

Thankfully, Buddy made a full recovery.

The Kennel Club advises keeping track of any chocolates brought into the house and keeping them safely out of reach of dogs.

‘For those keeping up traditions of a festive chocolate egg hunt, it is important that your dog is kept away during this activity and ensure all the hidden chocolates are found before welcoming them back to the area,’ it added.

Unfortunately, chocolate isn’t the only Easter treat that’s poisonous to pups.

Traditional Easter treats that contain grapes, raisins, currants and sultanas, such as hot cross buns, are also highly toxic to dogs.

If your dog does manage to get its paws on any chocolate this Easter, the PDSA advises contacting your vet immediately.

‘Call your vet and follow their advice. It’s useful for your vet to know how much has been eaten and what type of chocolate they’ve had; show your vet the packaging if you have it,’ it said.

WHAT ARE THE TEN COMMONLY HELD MYTHS ABOUT DOGS?

It is easy to believe that dogs like what we like, but this is not always strictly true.

Here are ten things which people should remember when trying to understand their pets, according to Animal behavior experts Dr Melissa Starling and Dr Paul McGreevy, from the University of Sydney.

1. Dogs don’t like to share

2. Not all dogs like to be hugged or patted

3. A barking dog is not always an aggressive dog

4. Dogs do not like other dogs entering their territory/home

5. Dogs like to be active and don’t need as much relaxation time as humans

6. Not all dogs are overly friendly, some are shyer to begin with

7. A dog that appears friendly can soon become aggressive

8. Dogs need open space and new areas to explore. Playing in the garden won’t always suffice

9. Sometimes a dog isn’t misbehaving, it simply does not understand what to do or what you want

10. Subtle facial signals often preempt barking or snapping when a dog is unhappy

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