Avoiding Easter Vet Bills

Dog licking chocolate bunny and easter eggs

The dangers of chocolate (and more) to your dog!

That wonderful Easter treat, chocolate will be filling your home this coming Easter, and while there are documented health benefits for humans, chocolate is in fact toxic to dogs (and cats, though cats aren’t usually interested enough to consume it).

Chocolate toxicity is a commonly encountered in dogs (Humans aren’t the only ones with a sweet tooth!). The reason why it is toxic to dogs and not to humans is because of a component called Theobromine, which is only very slowly metabolised by dogs.

Symptoms are based on the amount of chocolate your dog ate, the type of chocolate (dark, cooking, cocoa powder, cocoa beans, or milk), and the weight of your dog. They vary from mild gastrointestinal signs (vomiting and diarrhoea), to muscle tremors and excitability, to changes to heart rate and pattern, to overheating, to seizures, and in severe cases, coma and death.

Other festive treats to keep your pet away from… 

  • Raisins/Sultanas – Grapes may contain a toxin that can cause kidney damage in dogs. This means hot cross buns, raisin bread, wine, and fresh grapes are a no-no!  
  • Easter Lilies – Along with several other varieties, Easter lilies are highly toxic and potentially fatal to cats. Some types are also toxic to dogs. Symptoms of poisoning include vomiting, lethargy, excessive drooling, loss of appetite. 
  • Easter grass/toys (think tiny fluffy chicks, plastic eggs, etc!). If these appealing lil’ toys are swallowed, they can get stuck in the gastrointestinal tract and cause an obstruction. Obstruction = bad news and likely surgery!

As with all toxins, prevention of access is best. Ensure that all of the above items are placed well out of your pets reach, and let children and family/guests know that chocolate etc isn’t good for your pet.  
When laying out your chocolate eggs for your all-important egg-hunt, make sure it is in an area which is NOT accessible to animals. Once the hunt is completed, do a final check of the area for any sneaky missed eggs! Safe ‘chocolate’ flavoured dog treats can also be brought from your local pet store so your furry friend doesn’t miss out 😉  

If your dog has ingested any of the above, please contact your veterinarian immediately for further advice.


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