Dogs Trust today launched an awareness campaign after conducting a survey which revealed that more than 10% of pet dogs given chocolate intended for humans became ill.
Nearly a quarter of these required urgent veterinary treatment, and around 8% died as a result of eating the confectionary.
The new Chocs Away! awareness drive aims to highlight the tragic consequences of feeding dogs chocolate intended for humans this Easter.
In statement, the charity highlighted lack of awareness amongst dog owners, reporting 39% of dogs who ate human chocolate were given the treat by their owners and 61% found it themselves in the home.
Veterinary director for Dogs, Paula Boyden, said: “Apart from the risks of obesity and the obvious dangers of eating the foil wrapping, the biggest risk of eating human chocolate is poisoning, resulting in an emergency dash to the vet and sadly even death.
“Chocolate contains theobromine, which, although tolerated by humans, is extremely toxic to man’s best friend. The darker the chocolate, the greater the amount of theobromine. Toxic doses vary according to the size of dog and cocoa solid content of the chocolate.
“As a rough guide, Dogs Trust estimates that 50g of plain chocolate could be enough to kill a small dog, such as a Yorkshire Terrier, while just 400g could be enough to kill an average size dog.”
In its statement, the charity issued the following points of advice:
- Keep your “Chocs Away” – this means hidden out of sight and unavailable to your dog.
- Never feed your dog chocolate intended for humans.
- If your easter egg is missing and you suspect the dog is the culprit, contact your vet straight away.
- Look out for any of the following symptoms; vomiting containing blood, a sore tummy, excessive thirst, excitability, drooling, rapid heart rate. In severe cases, dogs may suffer epileptic-type fits.
- If your dog is displaying any of these signs then take him immediately to your vet.
- There is no antidote for theobromine poisoning with treatment being symptomatic. Therefore the sooner treatment is implemented, the greater the chance of recovery.
- If you want to treat your dog this Easter, stick to natural doggy snacks that are kinder to your canine.