Easter is here and my children cannot wait to enjoy some yummy chocolate eggs. There will however be NO Easter eggs for my two Cavaliers Charlie and Lola, as chocolate is a life threatening toxin to pets. Chocolate poisoning is caused by the methylxanthine alkaloids in chocolate and is common in dogs. Young dogs and certain breeds (eg. Labradors) are frequently affected as they tend to eat larger amounts. All types of chocolate including Easter eggs and cooking chocolate can cause poisoning but dark chocolate is the MOST toxic. Vomiting and diarrhoea can occur quickly, and brown coloured vomit is a give away sign. The toxin in chocolate causes a rapid weak heartbeat and neurological signs such as tremors and seizures. Death from heart failure can result within hours of ingestion. There is no antidote for chocolate poisoning so supportive veterinary care is required urgently. Your veterinarian may induce vomiting if the chocolate was eaten recently or they may have to pump the stomach to prevent further absorption. In dogs with advanced signs we give fluid therapy and medication to control seizures and correct the heart rate and rhythm. The pets prognosis is good if the chocolate is removed within 2 to 4 hours of eating but is guarded in animals with neurological signs. So please don’t invite your pets to join the Easter egg hunt this year – save the eggs for yourself instead!

This is Oscar the Labrador who would not say no to chocolate!