Dog owners warned over dangers of ‘toxic’ Easter chocolate

Chocolate can potentially be fatal to dogs, leading to fits and death in severe cases.

Flora Bowen
Monday 03 April 2023 14:40 BST
Dachshund Bertie became ill when he ate a pile of Quality Street, as vets have urged dog owners to be vigilant with Easter treats over fears pets could be poisoned by chocolate (Vets Now/PA)
Dachshund Bertie became ill when he ate a pile of Quality Street, as vets have urged dog owners to be vigilant with Easter treats over fears pets could be poisoned by chocolate (Vets Now/PA)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

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Vets have urged dog owners to be vigilant with Easter treats over fears pets could be poisoned by chocolate.

The confectionery can potentially be fatal to dogs, leading to fits and death in severe cases.

Animal emergency service Vets Now, which treated more than 200,000 pets in 2022, said chocolate toxicity cases rose by 236% last Easter.

The organisation said chocolate contains a compound called theobromine, which overstimulates a dog’s muscles, including the heart.

In severe cases, dogs can experience fits and heartbeat irregularities and some cases it can result in coma or death

Dave Leicester, Vets Now

Vets Now head of telehealth Dave Leicester said: “As long as it’s treated early and there’s been no organ damage, the prognosis for chocolate toxicity is generally good, but we’d like to help pet owners avoid a trip to the emergency room over Easter.

“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 can experience fits and heartbeat irregularities and some cases it can result in coma or death.”

Vets Now pointed to an example where miniature dachshund Bertie became ill when he ate a pile of Quality Street, Heroes and Celebrations from selection boxes left on a living room table.

His owner Claire Cully contacted the service and they advised her to bring the 16-month-old dog to their 24-hour pet hospital in Manchester.

She said: “It’s really nerve-racking when your pet is ill and in an emergency situation like that and it was a real relief to know he was in such good hands.”

Bertie made a full recovery after vets gave him medicine to induce vomiting and stop the chocolates from settling in his system.

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