Dog chocolate warning: How to protect pets from fatal Easter chocolate – Tips

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Vets report a seasonal rise in chocolate-induced poisoning at this time of year. Eating chocolate can be fatal for cats and dogs as it contains the chemical theobromine which cannot be broken down by their digestive systems.

The effects of chocolate poisoning depend on the amount and type of chocolate eaten and the size and breed of the pet.

Dark chocolate tends to have higher levels of theobromine, but it can also be found in white and milk chocolate.

Even small amounts of chocolate can be toxic to pets and symptoms tend to occur any time from four to 24 hours after consumption.

Here are the common symptoms to look out for:

· Vomiting- this can sometimes include blood

· Heavy, rapid breathing

· Increased heart rate

· Restlessness

· Diarrhoea

Sally Jaques, Pet Insurance Expert at GoCompare, said: “In the run-up to Easter, it is important to raise awareness of the risks associated with chocolate consumption and pets.

“With there being more chocolate bought into the home at this time of year, there is a higher risk of accidents happening. We advise keeping any chocolate, such as Easter eggs or chocolate cake, out of reach from curious pets.

“Accidents do happen. If you do notice any of the symptoms listed and suspect your pet has eaten something harmful, here are five methods of action to take.”

The expert says you should call your local vet and seek medical attention immediately. This is to prevent any long-term effects, as well as to minimise the short term.

If you fear that the amount of chocolate your pet has consumed is fatal. Do not try and force vomiting. It can be very dangerous, seek professional help as soon as possible.

Also, you should keep an eye on the chocolate type consumed. This can be a big help in judging fatality levels as dark chocolate is more dangerous than white.

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You should keep track of details such as the weight of your pet and how much they may have consumed. This is vital for health professionals to determine how toxic it will be for them, which will then aid in providing the best solutions.

Most importantly, stay calm. Time and accuracy are the most important factors when it comes to minimising damage to your pet. The calmer you are the faster you will be able to find the right solution to aid your pet’s recovery.

There are some pet-friendly chocolate alternatives for when you want to treat your animal. Dogs can have peanut butter, banana, carrots and carob. Cats can enjoy cooked fish, peas and apples with the skin removed.

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