Have a Happy Easter, But Don’t Let Your Dog Eat Chocolate!

We are sure most people already know that chocolate is really bad for dogs, but there will be some people – perhaps first time dog owners – who aren’t quite aware that if dogs eat chocolate, they can become really sick and it can even be fatal.

Easter is such a fun time, especially for children; and no doubt we all indulge a little over the Easter period with chocolate, toasted tea cakes and lots of other treats.

However, if you have a dog, its important to think about making sure he does not have access to human chocolate, because it is highly toxic to our canine pals.

Not only does chocolate contain a lot of sugar, fat and caffeine – none of which is good for dogs, anyway – it also contains theobromine; and this is the most toxic component for dogs.

All chocolate is toxic to dogs, whether it is the milk or white variety, but dark chocolate and chocolate made for baking are the worst of all as they contain higher amounts of theobromine.

If you’re planning an Easter egg hunt this year, it’s probably best not to let your dog join.  With a much more developed sense of smell, your dog is bound to sniff out chocolate far faster than anyone else.  Make sure you remember where you stashed all the eggs too and make sure everything is collected up before letting your dog loose.

Dogs may not even need to consume large amounts of chocolate to become very ill.  Theobromine affects the dog’s heart, guts, kidneys and nervous system and a dog weighing 30kg, for example, could become fatally sick by consuming just 3000mg of theobromine.  That’s the equivalent of one 500g bar of dark chocolate which could result in serious heart complications.

What should I do if my dog eats chocolate?

Your dog may require urgent treatment, so if you know your dog has consumed chocolate you must contact your vet immediately.  Provide your vet with your dog’s weight, how much chocolate they’ve eaten and when.  Symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs include restlessness, hyperactivity, rapid breathing, un-coordinated movement, vomiting, diarrhoea and seizures.

There are dog safe Easter eggs available in stores such as Pets at Home, but since these do look like conventional chocolate eggs, be careful not to get them muddled up.

The safest thing to do if you have a lot of Easter eggs in the house this coming holiday, is to make sure they are completely out of your dog’s reach so that a happy Easter doesn’t turn into a doggy disaster!