More than one in 10 dogs have been taken ill after eating chocolate intended for humans, of which 8% died and nearly a quarter required urgent veterinary treatment, claims a new Dogs Trust survey launched in time for Easter.
A new survey from Dogs Trust has revealed that over 57% of pet dogs have eaten chocolate intended for humans and over 1 in 10 have become ill from it. Of these, 8% have died due to the effects and nearly a quarter have required urgent veterinary treatment.
Sadly many dog owners are unaware of the dangers, and more than 39% of dogs who ate human chocolate were given the treat by their owners, while 61% found it themselves after it was left in easy to find places in the home.
These figures are taken from a survey of 1,115 dog owners, conducted in March 2012.
Dogs Trust veterinary director Paula Boyden said: “Apart from the risks of obesity and the obvious dangers of eating the foil wrapping, the biggest risk of eating human chocolate is poisoning, resulting in an emergency dash to the vet and sadly even death.
TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING?
As a rough guide, Dogs Trust estimates that 50g of plain chocolate (less than one Cadbury Bournville chocolate bar) could be enough to kill a small dog of around 2.5kg in weight, such as a Yorkshire terrier.
400g could be enough to kill an average size dog (approx. 25kg).
“Chocolate contains theobromine, which, although tolerated by humans, is extremely toxic to man’s best friend. The darker the chocolate, the greater the amount of theobromine. Toxic doses vary according to the size of dog and cocoa solid content of the chocolate.”
To prevent the number of dogs that end up hopping to the vet with chocolate poisoning, Dogs Trust is launching a new “Chocs Away!” awareness drive to highlight the tragic consequences of feeding your dog human chocolate this Easter.
So, if your clients are partial to Easter Eggs and want to keep their dog safe, tell them to follow these simple rules:
- Keep your “Chocs Away” – this means hidden out of sight and unavailable to your dog;
- NEVER feed your dog chocolate intended for humans;
- If your egg is missing and you suspect the dog is the culprit, contact your vet straight away;
- Look out for any of the following symptoms: vomiting containing blood, a sore tummy, excessive thirst, excitability, drooling, rapid heart rate – and in severe cases, epileptic-type fits. If your dog is displaying any of these signs then take him immediately to your vet;
- There is no antidote for theobromine poisoning with treatment being symptomatic. Therefore the sooner treatment is implemented, the greater the chance of recovery;
- If you want to treat your dog this Easter stick to natural doggy snacks that are kinder to your canine.
NOTE: Despite the seriousness of the message, cases of death by Easter egg are relatively unlikely – most reported cases of death by theobromine are from dogs eating cocoa powder and cocoa mulch in the garden, so owners should be vigilant if their dog is also exposed to these products.