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Why your dog should have a chocolate – free Easter

Why your dog should have a chocolate – free Easter
0 25 March 2016

 

While wishing you and your pets a very Happy Easter, we would like to highlight a particular hazard that frequently arises at this time of year, and that is chocolate poisoning in dogs.

Chocolate contains an ingredient called theobromine, which is a chemical stimulant similar to caffeine. While humans are able to easily metabolise this chemical, dogs take longer to digest their food, so theobromine can be in their system for up to 20 hours. During this time, the dog’s nervous system, heart and kidneys may shut down.

We would like to urge all pet owners to keep their chocolate baskets hidden well away from their hoover-mouthed pooches. More important is to impress upon everyone — especially children — that while they might think they are being generous offering the dog some of their Easter treats, chocolate can be easter-1217283_640poisonous even in the smallest of doses. If hiding eggs in the house or garden, please ensure that all are collected before letting your dog out- he or she will sniff them out in an instant due to their incredible sense of smell. Even foil wrappers will not deter a hungry dog- and this too can pose a risk if swallowed as the foil can cause a blockage in the gastro-intestinal tract.

Chocolate affects each dog differently, depending on its size, tolerance levels and overall health. An older dog or one that is in poor health may show signs of poisoning quicker than a healthy dog. How much chocolate and what type of chocolate will also determine how sick a dog will become.

The best way to treat chocolate poisoning is to make sure it doesn’t get a chance to settle in your dog’s system in the first place. If you see your dog consume chocolate, we advise that you seek veterinarian advice immediately. We often administer a drug to induce vomiting in order to empty the stomach of chocolate. The longer chocolate is in his or her system, the sicker the dog. Unfortunately most people don’t catch their dog in the act, so it is only when symptoms start to appear, anywhere between 4 – 12 hours later, do owners know something is wrong.

The most common early symptoms of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhoea and hyperactivity. Many people describe their pets as seeming ‘drunk’ or disorientated after ingesting chocolate.

The best advice we can give is to advise that Easter eggs aren’t lying around where the dog can eat them. Unfortunately, despite being poisonous to them, dogs crave chocolate once they’ve had a taste and will usually devour the whole thing if not monitored.

Have a very Happy Easter, enjoy the Easter treats yourself but make sure your four-legged companion sticks to the canine variety.

Posted in Blog, Health advice, Uncategorized by Ennis Veterinary Clinic | Tags: , , , , ,

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