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Pets & AnimalsVet issues urgent warning to pet owners on approach to Easter weekend

Vet issues urgent warning to pet owners on approach to Easter weekend

One small chocolate Easter egg could be enough to cause harm to your dog this Easter, a Manchester vet has warned.

The 24/7 pet emergency hospital, Vets Now, is expecting a sudden leap in cases over the Easter weekend.

Last year, there was an 175% increase in chocolate-related cases over the Easter weekend, when compared to the week before.

With the four-day weekend fast approaching, many will be looking forward to indulging in some chocolatey treats.

But whilst the holiday can be a joyful period of celebration, it’s important for pet owners to remember to keep chocolate – which is toxic for dogs and dangerous for cats – out of reach.

Dr Simon Hagley, clinical director at Vets Now Manchester, said: “Just a handful of chocolate can be life-threatening for your dog. With more chocolate likely to be in our homes for Easter treats and egg hunts, it’s even more important for pet owners to be extra careful over the Bank Holiday weekend.

“Our advice is always to keep chocolate treats well away from your dog. As long as it’s treated early and there’s been no organ damage, the prognosis for chocolate toxicity is generally good. But we’d like to help pet owners avoid a trip to the emergency room over Easter.”

Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine, which is poisonous and highly toxic for both dogs and cats.

How toxic depends on the amount of chocolate your pet has consumed and smaller dogs or puppies face a higher risk due to their size. Dark chocolate and high % cocoa chocolate usually poses the highest danger but theobromine can still be found in milk chocolate.

Cadbury’s Mini Eggs may be a popular Easter snack but a family-sized 270g bag is enough to cause toxicity in a medium sized (12-25kg) dog. It could also cause serious problems for small breeds weighing between 5 to 12kg.

With the average chocolate Easter eggshell containing between 90 to 200g of milk chocolate, that on its own is enough to cause toxicity in medium-sized dogs and smaller dogs.

A dark chocolate egg poses a much higher risk and even just 90g could be toxic for large dogs weighing 25 kg or more. With small breeds or puppies, that quantity could be life-threatening.

The first signs of chocolate poisoning to look out for are:

  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Excessive thirst

If untreated, these clinical signs may develop into hyperactivity, tremors, abnormal heart rate, hyperthermia, and rapid breathing. In severe cases, dogs may even experience fits and heartbeat irregularities and some cases can result in coma or death.”

Owners can use an online chocolate toxicity calculator developed by Vets Now to work out whether their dog has eaten a potentially toxic amount.

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