Warwick Vet Clinic’s Dr Elissa Haley is warning pet owners to keep chocolate away from their pets.
Warwick Vet Clinic’s Dr Elissa Haley is warning pet owners to keep chocolate away from their pets.

Chocolate can be deadly for dogs

AT most we face an annoying stomach ache if we overindulge in chocolate this Easter, but the affect on canines is far more severe.

Warwick Vet Clinic’s Dr Elissa Haley is warning pet owners to be especially vigilant of their dogs' diet this weekend and said they face serious health issues if they consume too much.

“Chocolate contains a compound called theobromine which is similar to compounds found in coffee,” Dr Haley said.

“When dogs consume large amounts of the toxin, it can affect their heart and cause them to have seizures or fitting. It can even lead to coma and death.”

Dr Haley said there was no antidote and the only treatment was to remove the toxin early and give the dog supportive care with fluids and oxygen.

“The problem is that dogs can’t clear the toxin from their system as well as we can and as a result the chemical can build up in their body over a period of time and triggers the toxic effects,” she said.

Although we tend to think of dark chocolate as a healthier option, Dr Haley said it was even worse for dogs.

“Dark chocolate is more lethal then milk chocolate because of its higher cocoa content,” she said.

Dr Haley said generally pet owners were not aware of the amount of cocoa it took to before it affected a dog. She said for smaller dogs it could be just a couple of pieces of chocolate, but the general rule of thumb was a bar of milk chocolate.

For pet owners worried about having their dog feeling left out without chocolate, a healthy substitute is carob chocolate.

“Carob chocolate isn’t made from cocoa, so things like that are okay,” she said.

If you suspect your dog or cat has consumed too many chocolate Easter eggs these holidays, or you see signs of restlessness, muscle tremors or vomiting, contact your vet immediately.



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