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Keep Dogs Away From Human Treats This Easter To Prevent Emergency Treatment

If chocolate, hot cross buns, and Easter egg hunts are on your agenda this long weekend, make sure they are kept well away from your dog to help avoid an urgent trip to the emergency veterinarian.

The New Zealand Veterinary Association Te Pae Kīrehe (NZVA) warns these seemingly harmless treats include ingredients that may be toxic to our canine friends and may result in serious illness, or even death. The reminder comes ahead of a traditionally busy weekend for veterinary clinics across Aotearoa, many of which are already overstretched.

NZVA Head of Veterinary Services - Companion Animal Sally Cory says, "The main things pet owners need to be aware of is keeping dogs away from chocolate, the raisins and sultanas in hot cross buns, and to a lesser degree, nuts, such as macadamia nuts."

"If you’re organising an Easter egg hunt, ensure dogs are well away from the area until the treats have all been collected, and remember exactly where you’ve placed them because dogs will be able to sniff them out if any are left behind in the garden."

As part of its pre-Easter advice, the NZVA would like to remind people that if you think your animal needs emergency care, ‘Think P.E.T’.

P.E.T stands for:

  • Pause. Think

for a moment about whether your pet needs emergency care or could be seen

by their vet during normal business hours.

  • Emergency call. Phone your vet if you think your
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pet needs emergency care or you’re unsure.

  • Take.

Follow the advice you receive to either take your pet to an emergency

service provider, or book an appointment during normal business hours.

By keeping emergency services for "emergencies only" it means very sick animals can receive the treatment they need quickly, and vet teams are not overwhelmed with pets that do not require emergency care.

"It is all about people taking just a moment to consider whether their pet needs immediate care, and if they think they do, to then call their vet for further advice," Sally says. "If you are advised to go to an emergency service provider, you may be asked to ring ahead to let the vet team know you are coming. This helps prepare staff for your arrival."

What foods are toxic to my dog?


Chocolate is toxic to dogs because it contains theobromine, an alkaloid that causes vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive panting, an abnormal heartbeat, seizures or even death. A standard 200g block of dark chocolate is enough to kill a dog weighing about 40kg.

Grapes and raisins

Grapes and raisins contain substances that can cause kidney failure. Even a small amount of dried fruit can prove fatally toxic to dogs, so keep an eye out for vomiting, diarrhoea and reduced or loss of appetite.

Nuts Sally Cory also warns macadamia nuts affect the nervous system causing weakness and temporary paralysis in a dog’s hind legs. Some nuts, such as almonds and pistachios, especially the shells, may cause obstructions in smaller dogs and cats.

Uncooked dough If you’re planning on whipping up a batch of hot cross buns over the weekend, remember that any amount of uncooked bread dough containing yeast can be toxic. The dough expands in the stomach causing bloating and vomiting and the fermented raw yeast can also cause alcohol poisoning.

Cooked bones If a roast lamb is on the menu over Easter, don’t forget that cooked bones can also be problematic for pets and may cause an upset stomach and digestive problems.

© Scoop Media

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