Keep Easter treats out of dogs reach, warn vets

Keep Easter treats out of dogs reach, warn vets

UK dog owners are being warned to keep Easter treats away from pets after figures released today by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) revealed that almost half of vets (45%) treated at least one case of chocolate poisoning last Easter.


BVA’s Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey showed that awareness of chocolate poisoning is increasing amongst pet owners, with a 9% decrease in cases treated during 2015 in comparison to the same period in 2014. However BVA’s survey also highlighted that many pet owners are still having to make urgent yet preventable trips to the vets over the Easter holidays - with 6% of vets who saw pets with chocolate poisoning treating five or more cases.


BVA President Sean Wensley said: “Easter is great fun for all the family and this should include much loved pets too - but it’s easy to accidentally leave something tempting lying around that a pet might find too hard to resist. Dogs, in particular, have a keen sense of smell and will easily win at any Easter egg hunt so wherever chocolate is being stored – inside or outside – make sure it is pet proof and out of reach of inquisitive noses to avoid an emergency trip to the vet.


“Over the bank holiday weekend veterinary practice opening hours may, vary so make sure you know how to contact your local vet during Easter. If you suspect your pet has eaten chocolate we’d advise contacting your local vet immediately.”


Chocolate can be highly poisonous to pets as it contains theobromine, a naturally occurring chemical found in cocoa beans, which dogs and other animals digest much less effectively than humans. The effects of chocolate poisoning in dogs, which are most commonly affected, usually appear within 12 hours and can last up to three days. First signs can include excessive thirst, vomiting, diarrhoea and restlessness. These symptoms can then develop into hyperactivity, tremors, abnormal heart rate, hyperthermia and rapid breathing. In severe cases, dogs can experience fits and heartbeat irregularities and some cases can result in coma or death. If you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate please contact your local vet immediately.