Thursday, 9 April 2009

Easter chocolate can lead to poorly, poisoned pooches

Increasing numbers of dog owners now know that there are a few foods that us people munch on that dogs definitely shouldn't. Raisins, grapes, onions and sweetener xylitol are a few, and chocolate is definitely on the list.

At Easter-time, there's generally a lot more of the gooey sweet stuff around the place, and dogs are inquisitive souls. The smell is inviting, and before you know it they've munched down the lot and made themselves very ill indeed. I still hear people saying "it's because they can become diabetic" but actually it's much more immediate and frightening even than that: they can suffer poisoning.

A chemical called theobromine is present in chocolate and is something us people can handle, but dogs cannot. The higher the cocoa content, the more theobromine is present, which is why things like cocoa powder and cocoa mulch for the garden have been known to kill dogs when they have ingested some.

So please keep a look out this Easter and remember:
  • Keep your chocolate treats out of reach of intrepid hounds
  • Don't let family and friends give them chocolatey treats
  • Distract them with special dog "choc" drops if it helps!
  • If you're a gardener, make sure you're not using cocoa mulch
If you suspect your dog has eaten some chocolate and you observe any of the following symptoms, please take them to the vet straight away:
  • Vomiting (with blood)
  • Sore tummy
  • Excessive thirst
  • Excitability
  • Drooling
  • Slow heart rate
  • In the later stages, epileptic-type fits
Early symptoms of theobromine poisoning can be treated, but it's possible that as little as a regular bar and a half of dark chocolate could be fatal to a small dog.
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