Dog owners warned of the danger of Easter chocolate

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Bunny business: The Victorian RSPCA’s warnings to dog owners about the dangers of chocolate for dogs come at a good time this Easter. Photo by Getty Images

The RSPCA Victoria is warning dog owners to keep chocolate away from their four-legged friends at Easter because the sugary treat is toxic to dogs.

While many of us will be tasting the chocolate of our choice over the next few weeks, vets are warning that chocolate contains cocoa and cocoa contains the compound theobromine, which is toxic to dogs and other pets in certain doses. .

RSPCA Victoria chief veterinarian Dr Rupert Baker said chocolate poisoning was a problem that mainly occurs in dogs, but also occasionally in cats or other animals.

“It’s important not to give chocolate to your pets and to make sure they can’t accidentally access any of your chocolate supplies, especially around Easter,” he said.

Dr. Baker said theobromine was toxic to dogs. The concentration of theobromine varies depending on the type of chocolate. For example, cocoa powder, baking chocolate, and dark chocolate contain higher levels of theobromine than milk chocolate.

“The overall effect of chocolate ingestion on the dog depends on the size of the dog, the amount of chocolate consumed, and the type of chocolate consumed,” Dr. Baker said.

Symptoms of chocolate ingestion may include restlessness, excitement, hyperactivity, nervousness, tremors, vomiting, diarrhea, increased alcohol consumption, and increased urination , rapid heart rate, muscle tremors, seizures and eventually death.

“If your dog or pet has ingested chocolate (even a small amount), you should contact your local veterinarian as soon as possible for advice,” Dr. Baker said.

Veterinarians can usually treat chocolate poisoning with inducing vomiting and supportive therapy, but it’s important to see a veterinarian quickly.

Dog owner Sonia Baker heeded this advice after her dog Rocket ate chocolate.

“Mom and I love dark chocolate,” she said.

“We left three unopened packets of 78% dark chocolate on our dining table.

“Rocket snuck into the room and pulled them off the table without us noticing. She opened the packets and ate two and a half blocks of dark chocolate before we realized what had happened.

“I knew chocolate was toxic to dogs so we had to act fast. We rushed her to the RSPCA Victoria Veterinary Clinic in Burwood – the vets immediately made Rocket vomit before she could properly digest the chocolate.

“The vets said we were really lucky to have caught him so quickly because any longer could have caused Rocket significant health issues. They said the first hour and a half was critical to action.

“We are now so careful with chocolate, always making sure to store it on the highest shelves in our pantry so Rocket can’t get his paws on it.

“It was a chilling reminder of how careful we need to be with our dogs.

“There’s a lot of chocolate around Easter, so we know we have to be extra vigilant this month.”

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