Pet Health: Anything but chocolate!

Vet Darren Storey brings you the latest news from Northlands Veterinary Hospital.

Next weekend most of us will be waking up and sharing plenty of chocolates to celebrate Easter.

Don't give your dog chocolate this Easter, warns vet Darren Storey

Don't give your dog chocolate this Easter, warns vet Darren Storey

If you’re not a fan of chocolate I am sure there is at least one person in your house that is.

That one person should definitely not be your pet dog!

Chocolate contains a substance called theobromine, and it is this substance that causes the problems.

Each type of chocolate contains varying amounts of theobromine – there is more in plain chocolate than milk chocolate, for example.

Toxicity occurs with as little at 100mg/Kg, and a fatal dose of 130mg/Kg.

I and my colleagues tend to find that incidences of chocolate toxicity tend to be highest at two specific times of the year; Easter and Christmas.

We see more emergencies than we would like; and many of them are because owners have fed their dog some chocolate without realising the dangers.

It can be an innocent mistake to make; after all, it isn’t toxic to us.

I hope after you have read this, and maybe shared it, we can all help reduce the number of dogs we see this year and in the future.

So, how is it toxic?

Theobromine, among other things, stimulates the central nervous system, causes constriction of blood vessels and increases heart rate.

It also, through a complex mechanism, increases the contractility of the heart and the skeletal muscles.

What are the symptoms?

Signs are usually seen anywhere from four to 24 hours after ingestion; and can last up to 72 hours.

These include:

O Vomiting (and diarrhoea)

O Painful abdomen

O Tremors and convulsions

O Panting and difficulty breathing

O Blood appearing in urine

O Irregular heart rhythms

Chocolate toxicity is usually fatal, depending on how much your dog has ingested and how sensitive they are to it.

If you know your dog has eaten any then please call your vet ASAP.

So, for Easter, they’ll appreciate a toy more than an Easter egg.

If you would like any more advice about chocolate poisoning in dogs, whether a client of ours or not, then please call 01536 485543 and we’d be happy to help.