With Easter eggs now on the supermarket shelves, we thought it would be a good time to remind pet-owners of the dangers of chocolate toxicity.

Chocolate contains methylxanthines such as theobromine and caffeine. The darker the chocolate the higher the concentration of Theobromine & the more toxic the chocolate is. This means that only small amounts of dark cooking chocolate can be quite toxic whereas dogs need to eat larger quantities of milk chocolate for it to be dangerous.

Methylxanthines result in central nervous system stimulation, increased fluid loss from the kidneys and heart muscle contraction. When ingested in toxic doses, clinical signs may include agitation, vomiting, diarrhoea, panting, rapid heart rate, frequent urination, hyperthermia, muscle tremors, and seizures. Clinical signs of toxicosis can be seen within a few hours but can occur up to 10-12 hours after ingestion (as the absorption can be slow).

As theobromine has a very long half-life, treatment may be necessary for 72-96 hours post ingestion.

The most effective treatment is to avoid absorption of the toxins in the chocolate. Treatment is aimed at decontamination – (inducing vomiting and administration of activated charcoal to absorb the toxins), intravenous fluid therapy, sometimes sedation as well as blood pressure and heart rate monitoring in some severe cases.

If you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, please contact the clinic and bring your pet in to see us immediately.

With Easter just around the corner our best advice is to be careful where you or your kids hide their Easter egg stash. You can be sure that your dog is always looking for an opportunity to steal your not so well-hidden chocolate treasures

Chocolate isn’t the only danger to watch out for this Easter. Other common issues are;

Hot Cross Buns

While we might enjoy Hot Cross Buns at Easter time, they can be very toxic to dogs. In particular, the ingestion of sultanas and raisins (and grapes) can cause severe kidney damage.  Please keep these tasty treats away from your dog and if you suspect they may have ingested any then give us a call.

Easter Toys

Fluffy chick toys, plastic Easter eggs and little bunny rabbits may be cute decorations but they can also be tempting food items for our furry friends. Ingestion of these toys may lead to a foreign body and blockage of the intestines. Please keep these toys away from your pets reach and contact us if you suspect one has been eaten.