New figures from a British Veterinary Association (BVA) survey show that two in three vets treated at least one case of chocolate poisoning in dogs last Easter.
The survey, which polled over 1,600 UK vets, shows a marked increase in the number of vets seeing at least one dog with chocolate poisoning compared to the same period in 2015.
Chocolate can be highly poisonous to pets as it contains theobromine, a naturally occurring chemical found in cocoa beans, which, while fine for humans, is harmful to dogs and other animals.
BVA President, Gudrun Ravetz, said: “Easter is great fun for the whole family, but unfortunately dogs like to join in too. With their keen sense of smell, they will easily win Easter egg hunts so wherever chocolate is being stored – inside or outside – make sure it is pet proof and out of reach of inquisitive noses to avoid an emergency trip to the vet. Also remind any visitors over the Easter holidays to keep their chocolate out of the dog’s reach too. Over the bank holiday weekend veterinary practice opening hours may vary, so make sure you know how to contact your local vet during 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 can result in coma or death. If you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, please contact your local vet immediately.