Easter and your dog!

With Easter nearly upon us, update your knowledge NOW, so if your Easter doggie eats your Easter Bunny – you’ll know what to do.

Chocolate, delicious chocolate

If you think of a dog consuming chocolate in a similar way to humans consuming alcohol – then you’ll understand how chocolate works in a dog’s system in a snap.

In general, the darker the chocolate, the more likely it is to cause problems for your dog. Similar to how you would react drinking an entire bottle of vodka.

Most toxicities are from concentrated chocolate – dogs that steal moderate to large amounts of dark or baking chocolate. So, generally speaking, it is not going to hurt your dog to accidentally eat a few milk chocolate Easter eggs.

However, the problem occurs when dogs eat a large (or unknown) amount of dark chocolate. Toxicity is calculated by chocolate type and dog weight, similar to how alcohol affects men versus women. (See table for reference.)

Therefore even a snack-sized bar of dark chocolate could be potentially lethal if eaten by a small dog. The safest thing is to estimate the most chocolate the dog could have eaten and base your decision whether to seek veterinary help on this.

Clinical signs usually occur within six to 12 hours of ingestion.
Watch out for:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • un-coordination
  • shaking
  • seizures.

Seek veterinary attention

If your dog has had access to a large amount of chocolate, seek immediate veterinary attention to ensure these toxins are stopped from being absorbed.

Why chocolate is bad for dogs

The components of chocolate that cause poisoning are:

  • methylxanthines, specifically because of their theobromine
  • caffeine.

In addition, dogs are thought to be sensitive to chocolate because of their slow metabolism.

So most importantly at Easter time – put the chocolates away where your pets can’t get them!

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