Chocolate can kill dogs: Vets warn of poisoning dangers at Easter

Chocolate can kill and you should never let your dog eat it – that is the Easter safety message from vets to pet owners.

The sweet stuff can be highly poisonous to dogs, and other animals too, and vets are urging owners to keep human treats well away from pets.

Theobromine is a naturally occurring chemical found in cocoa beans, which is fine for people but harmful to animals.

The effects of chocolate poisoning in dogs, which are most commonly affected among pets, usually appear within 12 hours and can last up to three days.

Symptoms can include excessive thirst, vomiting, diarrhoea and restlessness.

These can then develop into hyperactivity, tremors, abnormal heart rate, hyperthermia and rapid breathing.

Dogs can experience fits and heartbeat irregularities in severe cases, and it can even result in coma or death.

MORE: 8 things dogs should never eat or be fed

British Veterinary Association (BVA) president Gudrun Ravetz said: “Easter is great fun for the whole family, but unfortunately dogs like to join in too.

“With their keen sense of smell, they will easily win Easter egg hunts 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.

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“Also remind any visitors over the Easter holidays to keep their chocolate out of the dog’s reach too.

“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 dog has eaten chocolate, contact your local vet immediately.

Fruit, nuts, garlic, onions, sweets and mints can also cause serious health problems in dogs.

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