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Whilst overindulging during the Easter period may result in a few extra kilograms for humans, the consequences for our animal companions are much greater and much more serious. The accidental ingestion of chocolate or baked goods containing chocolate can lead to serious illness or even death for our beloved furry friends.

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE! YOU MUST BRING YOUR PET IN WITHIN HALF AN HOUR OF INGESTION. If you are unsure what time they ate it, it is best to assume it was recently so we can start potentially life saving measures and assess for toxicity. Why is chocolate so dangerous for animals? Chocolate toxicosis is a potential problem for all of our animal friends, however is it most common in dogs. This is because chocolate always contains a key ingredient called theobromine which is lethal to dogs. As well as theobromine, chocolate contains caffeine. Caffeine is dangerous to all pets as it can cause both over stimulation of the nervous system and increase our pet’s heart rate and tremors.

How much chocolate is toxic?

The toxic level depends on the type of chocolate and your pet’s body size. The darker the chocolate, the higher the stimulant content and risk to your pet. As little as 130mg dark chocolate could be lethal to a 10kg dog.

How do I know if my pet is experiencing chocolate toxicosis?

Signs vary depending on your dogs size, the type of chocolate and the amount that has been eated. Signs could appear anywhere between 30mins to 4 hours after ingested. Mild – vomiting / diarrhoea Moderate – vomiting / diarrhoea, restlessness, increased urination Severe – stiffness, excitement, seizures These can be followed by depression, coma, seizure and death.

I think my pet has eaten chocolate, what should I do? If you suspect your pet has ingested chocolate, call us or an emergency centre immediately. Often it is better to assume that the chocolate could be toxic and start the required treatment in order to prevent a tragic outcome.

How can I prevent my pet from consuming chocolate over the Easter period? With all the chocolate you can expect to be present in our homes over the Easter holiday, please ensure you keep chocolate well out of your pets reach. Chocolate wrappers and foil from chocolate eggs and bunnies can also be of serious harm to your animal’s health as they could choke.

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