Today’s Veterinary Business Staff
Hunting for Easter candy is fun for kids but potentially lethal to pets.
The British Veterinary Association reported that a survey of small animal veterinarians found that 62 percent of them responded to a case of chocolate poisoning last Easter season.
“Easter is a time of great fun for the whole family, but chocolate treats meant for humans can be poisonous for our pets,” said BVA President John Fishwick, MA, VetMB, DECBHM. “Dogs in particular have a keen sense of smell and can easily sniff out sweet treats, so make sure any chocolate goodies are stored securely out of reach of inquisitive noses to avoid an emergency trip to the vet.”
Chocolate contains theobromine, a naturally occurring chemical found in cocoa beans, which, while safe for humans, is harmful to dogs and other animals, the BVA stated. Dark chocolate and cocoa powder are the most toxic to dogs, and smaller dogs and puppies are most at risk, the organization noted.
Initial signs of chocolate poisoning can include excessive thirst, vomiting, diarrhea and restlessness. In severe cases, heartbeat irregularities, coma or death are possible.
The BVA stated that “while most vets across the U.K. saw an average of two cases of chocolate poisoning last Easter, around 1 in 8 treated five or more cases, which is more than double the figure reported over the previous two years.”