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Be warned – Easter eggs can kill your dog


By David G Scott

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With Easter just around the corner, pet owners are warned to be extra vigilant due to the seasonal rise in chocolate-induced vet visits at this time of year. While it may seem a tempting treat, Easter chocolates pose a serious risk to pets if eaten.

The experts at GoCompare have put together a guide to warn you of the dangers, the symptoms to look out for, and how to ensure your pet’s safety this Easter.

Your dog may beg for a snack but never give them chocolate. Picture: DGS
Your dog may beg for a snack but never give them chocolate. Picture: DGS

Chocolate poisoning can be fatal

Chocolate poisoning in pets is caused by the chemical theobromine. This can be toxic to cats and dogs as their digestive systems cannot break it down.

The effects of chocolate poisoning depend on the amount and type of chocolate eaten and the size and breed of the pet. Dark chocolate tends to have higher levels of theobromine, but it can also be found in white and milk varieties.

Even small amounts of chocolate can be toxic to pets so it is important to be aware of the common symptoms to look out for. These symptoms tend to occur any time from four to 24 hours after consumption.

Five common symptoms that your pet has chocolate poisoning:

  • Vomit - this can sometimes include blood.
  • Heavy, rapid breathing
  • An increased heart rate
  • Showing signs of restlessness
  • Diarrhoea

Alternatives to chocolate for your pet during Easter

Just because your pets can’t snack on chocolate, doesn’t mean they should miss out on treats this Easter. Here are some great pet-friendly alternative options:

Dogs:

Carob - A well-known healthy alternative that comes from the carob plant. Carob is high in vitamin B2, calcium, magnesium, and iron.

Peanut Butter - A spoonful is safe alternative to chocolate that provides healthy fats and proteins to your dog’s diet.

Carrots - Carrots help to improve dental health and are a great source of vitamin A for your dog.

Banana - A great treat that is high in potassium and vitamins but should only be given on occasion due to high sugar content.

Cats:

Cooked fish - Tuna, salmon or mackerel are a great source of protein and omega-3 that cats love.

Peas - Often are found in commercial cat foods, peas are high in fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin A and can be fed to cats frozen or raw.

Apples with the skin removed - This great alternative which is high in fiber and vitamin C.

There are alternative snacks for dogs to give them at Easter.
There are alternative snacks for dogs to give them at Easter.

What to do if your pet eats Easter chocolate:

Call your local vet - the first step to take is to seek medical attention. This is to prevent any long-term effects, as well as to minimise the short term. Speaking to a health professional provides the best solution when trying to be time-efficient.

Don’t try and induce vomiting - If you fear that the amount of chocolate your pet has consumed is fatal. Do not try and force vomiting. It can be very dangerous, seek professional help as soon as possible.

The chocolate type - Keep an eye on the chocolate type consumed. This can be a big help in judging fatality levels. For example, dark chocolate is more dangerous than white chocolate.

Keep track of details - Details such as the weight of your pet and how much they may have consumed are vital for health professionals to determine how toxic it will be for the dog. Which will then aid in providing the best solutions.

Stay Calm - Time and accuracy are the most important factors when it comes to minimising damage to your pet. The calmer you are the faster you’ll be able to find the right solution to aid your pet’s recovery.

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