An influx of chocolate eggs and treats will be seen in most homes this Easter. Whether they are immediately eaten, or stay untouched on the kitchen counter, make sure they are out of reach from any wet noses sniffing around.

Charity Medical Detection Dogs, have been reminding owners why chocolate should be not fed to dogs under any circumstance and how to keep them included in the Easter celebrations.

Chocolate is poisonous for dogs, it contains chemicals they cannot digest building up to toxic levels in their system. Even a small amount can make them seriously ill, and in some cases can prove fatal.

Generally speaking, the darker the chocolate the more of the chemical, theobromine, it contains and therefore the more toxic it is. White chocolate is fatty and can still make your dog ill, any wrappers ingested can cause intestinal obstruction.

Symptoms depend on the amount and type of chocolate eaten and the weight of the dog. They can take between four and 24 hours to develop and last for several days. Initial signs are vomiting, diarrhoea and increased thirst but these can lead to restlessness, muscle twitching, racing heart rate, tremors and fitting. In older pets or those with existing heart problems cardiac arrest can occur.

Carob treats are the dog alternative to chocolate and is great for satisfying your canine family member’s sweet tooth. Keep some good quality dog treats at hand if you wish to include your furry friend in the celebrations, tasty chews and stuffed toys will provide plenty of enjoyment to occupy them with whilst you tuck into your own treats.

Chris Allen, Socialising and Puppy Supply Manager at Medical Detection Dogs says, “If you’re enjoying your chocolate eggs and have some big, sad eyes watching your every move longingly, please don’t be tempted to give your dog even the smallest piece of chocolate as it could make them really unwell.

“Chewing on a piece of rawhide, jerky, biscuit or fruit will be just as tasty to your dog if it’s a treat they don’t have all the time and will distract them from what you’re munching on!”

If you suspect your dogs has ingested chocolate immediately contact your vet giving as much information as possible, including weight of dog and type of chocolate eaten. They will advise on the most appropriate treatment and want to examine a dog as soon as possible if a suspected toxic amount has been ingested.

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