Chocolates and other Easter treats can be bad news for our pets. See how you can protect them.
The abundance of chocolate around the April bank holiday weekend can become a minefield for pets, as eating it can have serious effects on their health. Make sure to keep an eye on any chocolate around your pet, particularly if you have young children, and keep reading for our advice on how to keep your pet safe.
Why is chocolate bad for pets?
Chocolate contains theobromine, a chemical which can be poisonous to cats, dogs and rabbits. Dark chocolate and cooking chocolates have the highest levels of theobromine, although it’s also present in both milk and white chocolate.
Depending on the size of the pet and the amount of chocolate eaten, the effects can vary from vomiting and diarrhea to seizures, internal bleeding and even heart attacks.
What to do if you suspect your pet has eaten chocolate
If you think your pet has eaten chocolate, even a small amount, take them to the vet straight away, ideally so they can be seen within an hour. Don’t try and make your dog sick, as this can be dangerous to their health. Our emergency 24-hour centres are open throughout the bank holiday weekend, so please call your local practice to be referred.
How to prevent your pet eating chocolate
Many pets, particularly dogs, will try their best to get to any chocolate lying around, so remember to keep it out of paw’s reach.
Young children can be unaware of the dangers of chocolate and pets, and will often try and share their treats with the family pet without you realising. Take the time to teach them that chocolate can make their beloved pet ill, and remind them not to feed it to them.
If you plan to do a chocolate Easter egg hunt, count the number of treats hidden and ensure the hunters get the same number back, to avoid leaving any behind for your pet to find later. Also, keep your pet well out of the way during the hunt to prevent them finding the eggs first.
There are plenty of suitable pet treats that mean your pet can still join in the fun. Speak to your vet for their recommendations, and remember to give out treats sparingly. Treats can be highly calorific, so you should always reduce their normal food intake that day to maintain a balanced diet.
Hot cross buns
While many owners understand the danger chocolate can pose on their pets, hot cross buns are another springtime treat that can be potentially harmful to animals. Raisins, sultanas and currants are all toxic to pets, causing vomiting, diarrhoea and, in some cases, kidney failure. Make sure you keep your pets away from them.
Easter basket fillers
Easter basket fillings like plastic grass and straw are tempting playthings for pets, particularly cats, but they’re easily swallowed and can lead to digestive issues, resulting in vomiting, bloating and dehydration. Protect your pet from the dangers by keeping them away from Easter baskets and other decorations.