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Keep dogs away from Easter chocolate

British Veterinary Association | British Veterinary Association

2 min read Partner content

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has reminded people that dogs should not be allowed to eat chocolate, ahead of the Easter holidays.

Chocolate is toxic to dogs because it contains theobromine – a naturally occurring chemical found in cocoa beans, which dogs excrete much less effectively than humans.

It can cause sickness, diarrhoea and dehydration, as well as neurological and cardiovascular signs.

The level of toxicity is dependent on the type of chocolate, with dark chocolate and cocoa powder being the most toxic, and the size of the dog, with smaller dogs and puppies being most at risk.

Chocolate is also toxic to cats, rabbits and rodents but vets see fewer cases of ingestion.

Robin Hargreaves, President Elect of the BVA, said:

“If you suspect that your dog has ingested chocolate don’t delay in contacting your vet.

“Although fatalities caused by chocolate are rare they can and do happen, so it is essential to seek veterinary help and advice immediately. The quicker we can offer advice and treatment the better.

“Always have as much information to hand when contacting your vet, including the type and amount of chocolate consumed and the weight of your dog. This will help the vet to give determine the likelihood of problems and give you the best advice.

“Remember that over the bank holiday veterinary practices may be operating different opening hours so make sure you know how to get in contact with your vet out of hours in an emergency.”

The BVAsaid that awareness about chocolate poisoning is increasing among dog owners, but vets are still seeing urgent cases because chocolate treats have not been secured out of reach.

The Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS), a subscription advice service for vets, experiences an increase in enquiries around Easter, Christmas and Valentine’s Day.

The Animal Welfare Foundation, the BVA’s own charity, provides information on a range of household items that may be poisonous to pet animals in its leaflet Pets and Poisons available to download from the AWF website: http://www.bva-awf.org.uk/pet-care-advice/pets-and-poisons

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