Easter warning: Don’t feed your dogs human chocolate

A new survey from the Dogs Trust charity has revealed that six in ten pet dogs have eaten chocolate intended for humans and more than one in ten have become ill from it.

Eight per cent have died due to the effects and nearly a quarter have required urgent veterinary treatment.

The charity has launched a Chocs Away! awareness drive to highlight the tragic consequences of feeding your dog human chocolate this Easter.

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Sadly many dog owners are simply unaware of the dangers. Over 39% of dogs who ate human chocolate were given the treat by their owners and 61% found it themselves after it was left in easy to find places in the home.

Dogs Trust veterinary director Paula Boyden said: “Apart from the risks of obesity and the obvious dangers of eating the foil wrapping, the biggest risk of eating human chocolate is poisoning, resulting in an emergency dash to the vet and sadly even death.

Chocolate contains theobromine, which, although tolerated by humans, is extremely toxic to man’s best friend. The darker the chocolate, the greater the amount of theobromine.

Toxic doses vary according to the size of dog and cocoa solid content of the chocolate. As a rough guide, Dogs Trust estimates that 50g of plain chocolate could be enough to kill a small dog, such as a Yorkshire Terrier*, while just 400g could be enough to kill an average size dog.”

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If you are partial to Easter Eggs and want to keep your dog safe, follow these simple rules:

> Keep chocolate hidden out of sight and unavailable to your dog

> NEVER feed your dog chocolate intended for humans

> If your egg is missing and you suspect the dog is the culprit, contact your vet straight away

> Look out for any of the following symptoms; vomiting containing blood, a sore tummy, excessive thirst, excitability, drooling, rapid heart rate. and in severe cases, epileptic-type fits

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> If your dog is displaying any of these signs then take him immediately to your vet

> There is no antidote for theobromine poisoning with treatment being symptomatic. Therefore the sooner treatment is implemented, the greater the chance of recovery

> If you want to treat your dog this Easter stick to natural doggy snacks that are kinder to your canine

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