Reminder to keep chocolate and pets separate this Easter

ANIMAL CARE

Victoria Stone-Meadows

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Dr Susan Pasagic from the Mossman Veterinary Surgery
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As we draw closer to Easter, pet-owners are reminded to be wary of chocolate around your pets.

Dr Susan Pasagic from the Mossman Veterinary Surgery said chocolate can cause a whole host of problems if it’s ingested by animals.

“Chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats; it is also toxic to birds and other animals. While rarely fatal, the ingestion of chocolate can result in significant illness,” she said.

“The amount of toxic theobromine varies with the type of chocolate. The darker and more bitter the chocolate, the more dangerous it is to dogs.

“For supermarket products, around 90 grams of dark chocolate can kill a five-kilogram dog or 200 grams of milk chocolate.” 

However, your pet doesn’t need to ingest a deadly amount of chocolate for it to become very ill and it’s important to treat the animal as soon as possible.

Symptoms including vomiting, diarrhoea, abnormal heartbeat, excessive urination, restlessness, excitement, unsteadiness, muscle tremors, seizures and coma can onset in as little as half an hour.

“Doses as little as one-fifth of lethal levels will still cause symptoms such as hyperactivity and agitation,” Dr Pasagic said.

“That’s why I recommend that all dogs exposed to chocolate be made to vomit as soon as possible after ingestion.

“This is only done safely at the vet clinic with specific medication to induce vomiting if done within four hours of ingesting chocolate the risks of effects are lowered considerably. 

“The faster you seek treatment the more likely your animal is to recover.”

There are pet-friendly alternatives to chocolate you can give your furry friend to ensure they don’t miss out on the magic this Easter.

“It is much better to give dogs a juicy bone or other dog-friendly treats,” Dr Pasagic said.

“Treats containing carob are dog-friendly being theobromine free and low-fat alternatives.

“If you are concerned that your pet may have eaten chocolate it is best to call the vet and seek advice rather than wait for symptoms to start to occur.” 

 

 

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