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A Chocolate Free Easter for Kiwi Pets

A Chocolate Free Easter for Kiwi Pets and veterinary partner Dr Patrick Foley are reminding Kiwis to keep any chocolate Easter treats well out of reach of pet pooches this Easter.

Consumption of chocolate can be toxic for dogs, with the potential to cause serious illness and even death if too much is consumed. Easter poses one of the riskiest time for family dogs due to the “stashes ofchocolate within paws reach” says Dr Foley.

“Easter is an incredibly delicious time for humans but a rather risky time for pooches due to the increase of chocolate in the average Kiwi household,” says Dr Foley. “Every Easter New Zealand vets see a notable increase in dogs being treated for chocolate ingestion .”

Chocolate contains theobromine - a chemical that causes a ‘happy’ feeling in humans and has a similar effect to caffeine, but is toxic to all animals, especially dogs . Dark chocolate is most dangerous due to its high levels of theobromine (compared to white chocolate) and chocolate poisoning is more likely in smaller dogs as a toxic dose is dependant on a dog’s weight. While it is also poisonous to cats, felines rarely consume chocolate.

“Other than discovering a pile of empty foil wrappers, if your dog exhibits hyperactivity, restlessness, vomiting, diarrhoea, hyperactivity, tremors, or seizures or your dog may have consumed chocolate and should be taken to a vet immediately,” says Dr Foley. “It’s rare but poisoning can result in respiratory failure or cardiac arrest if untreated. It is also worth remembering that many dogs don’t bother unwrapping the eggs first and will swallow the foil as well, so any missing eggs could possibly have been eaten, even if there’s no smoking gun!

“The absolute best thing you can do is keep chocolate away from your dog,” adds Foley. “It’s tempting enough for adults but for dogs it’s irresistible.”

What to do if your dog consumes chocolate

• Contact your vet to see if the amount consumed was a poisonous amount of chocolate. As a rule of thumb a 200gm large Easter Egg has enough theobromine to be toxic to a 10kg dog and a 100gm Easter bunny could poison a 5kg dog.

• If your dog has ingested a potentially toxic amount of chocolate, get your dog to a vet as soon as possible.

• Your vet may wish to induce vomiting if your dog isn’t showing any clinical signs and it has been less than an hour or two since ingestion.

• In severe cases your pet may require blood tests, seizure control and intravenous fluids.

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