Veterinarians have warned pet owners to keep chocolates away from their pets as it is the main cause of poisoning in dogs.
Easter is known for chocolate eggs and treats to celebrate the end of Lent. Families share chocolate eggs with their pets as part of their celebration, but, this could lead to chocolate poisoning in pets. The cases of chocolate poisonings are highly reported during Easter after Christmas.
‘Chocolates are harmful to dogs as they cannot digest it. These substances build-up in the dogs system and lead to poisoning.
Director of clinical services at Vets4Pets, Dr Huw Stacey, said, "We want to make sure that the 8.5 million dogs in the UK are safe from chocolate this Easter. Whether it's caused by owners giving their pet an Easter egg as a present or chocolate is accidentally left within their reach, we see an influx of pets suffering from chocolate poisoning at this time of year."
"Chocolate is particularly toxic to dogs, as it contains caffeine and theobromine, two substances that dogs are incredibly sensitive to."
Roasted cocoa beans contain theobromine and caffeine. When these substances are ingested by dogs, it affects the heart, central nervous system and kidneys.
"Unlike humans, dogs find it difficult to break down and excrete these substances. This means they can easily build-up in the dog's system and lead to poisoning," added Dr Stacey.
"The higher the level of cocoa in the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains and the more hazardous the chocolate becomes to pets. Therefore dark chocolate is the biggest danger to dogs and is more likely to cause medical complications than white or regular milk chocolate. The level of toxicity also depends on the size of the dog, but for most dogs even small amounts of chocolate can trigger unpleasant reactions."
The symptoms of chocolate poisoning in pets can include vomiting, diarrhea, increased body temperature and heart rate, and rapid breathing. Chocolate poisoning can even lead to seizures and cardiac failure.
Dr Stacey added, "For owners and their pets to enjoy a happy Easter together, the best option is to keep all chocolate out of their reach and give them an animal-friendly treat instead, like a dental chew or even special dog-friendly 'chocolate' treats."
Chocolate poisoning cases are not reported in cats, rabbits and rodents. However, they can still suffer from health issues after digesting chocolate.