Easter 2014: Should you let your dog eat chocolate eggs?
Chemicals toxic to dogs found in chocolate can have serious affect on our pet's health
Wednesday 16 April 2014
For a human, a few too many Easter eggs can be seen as a bit indulgent and lead to an afternoon on the sofa in a self-inflicted chocolate coma.
But for a dog it can be potentially life-threatening and, in the most extreme cases, result in a rather painful death.
Dog owners are being warned to be on high alert this Easter and ensure the chocolate is hidden away to ensure dogs are not harmed as a result of chocolate poisoning.
With more instances of discarded Easter Eggs or half-eaten Crème Eggs lying around at Easter than at other times of the year, it is a potential minefield for canines all over the country, and can result in many becoming ill – or even die.
In 2013, a report by Veterinary Poisons Information it was found that there were over 600 reported cases of dogs suffering from chocolate poisoning - the third most common reason for pet owners to get in contact with them.
This is supported by recent findings from a study carried out by LV=Pet Insurance, which found that there are almost double the number of claims by dog-owners as a result of chocolate poisoning at Easter and Christmas than at any other time of the year.
With more chocolate being bought this Easter than any other, this number is likely to grow.
The reason for this toxicity is due to a natural chemical in the cocoa bean called theobromine. Easily digestible by humans, theobromine cannot be broke down by the dog’s digestive system and becomes toxic to dogs, having a serious effect on their nervous system and heart.
This has led to many calling for extra vigilance from dog owners this Easter, to ensure that their pets are not affected.
LV Pet insurance manager Julie Constable said: “As the Easter weekend approaches and people have more chocolate in the home than usual, we're reminding those with dogs and cats to keep it well out of their reach.”
Nicola Bates from The Veterinary Poisons Information Service supported this and warned dog owners to "keep chocolate out of sight, unless they want an expensive trip to the vets."
Like with most poisons the toxic impact is dependent on the size of the dog.
Heavier dogs are far less likely to be affected by the same amount of chocolate than those of a smaller size.
For example, it would take just one tablespoon of dark chocolate to severely damage Britain's smallest breed of dog the Yorkshire Terrier, while 5 tablespoons would lead to a labrador becoming seriously ill.
Yet, it is not only the amount of chocolate that can have effect on how badly a dog reacts. The level of cocoa and the darkness of the chocolate can also have an effect. With darker chocolate containing more of the toxic theobromine than milk chocolate, less is needed to have an adverse effect.
Symptoms of concern for owners can be anything from vomiting, to rapid breathing, to seizures and need to be acted on to ensure that there are not more fatal consequences.
PDSA senior vet Elaine Pendlebury explains: "The effects of chocolate poisoning in dogs usually appear within four hours of eating, and can last as long as 24 hours.
"Initial signs can include excessive thirst, vomiting, a sore stomach and restlessness.
"These symptoms can then progress to tremors, an abnormal heart rhythm, raised body temperature and rapid breathing.
"In severe cases dogs can experience fits, kidney failure and can even die."
The advice from LV’s Constable is: 'If a pet does get hold of some chocolate and eats it, then their owners should contact a vet for advice straight away.'
- 1 Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 4 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
- 5 German man found living with 300 rats in tiny apartment
BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...
£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...