Easter isn’t always fun for everyone!
Did you know that a small bar of dark chocolate could be deadly for your pet? Did you know that raisins can also be fatal? No? You aren’t alone.
With Easter Bank Holiday weekend approaching, it is important to remember the risks associated with the celebrations. Let’s talk Easter eggs and hot cross buns!
Easter eggs are made of chocolate - chocolate contains something called theobromine which is very harmful to our dogs. The darker the chocolate, the higher the cocoa solid content which has more theobromine in it - High quality, dark chocolate is usually the most toxic to your pet but keep all chocolate out of sight and reach out of your pup just to be sure.
Hot cross buns contain raisins (dried grapes). Grape and raisin toxicity is well documented in dogs. Although the exact substance that causes the toxic reaction is not yet known, dogs should not eat grapes and raisins because even small amounts can prove to be fatally toxic for a dog.
The most serious complications of grape/raisin toxicity include severe kidney damage possibly leading to sudden failure with lack of urine production. However, kidney failure is not seen in all dogs after ingestion of grapes or raisins, and again, the reason why some dogs are affected excessively, while others are not, is still being studied.
Most of the cases of chocolate poisoning seen each year involve dogs. Dogs are naturally curious and are opportunists when it comes to food, meaning they’ll eat anything they find. This is why they’re more at risk from any chocolate left in easy reach or forgotten after your Easter egg hunt and stumbled upon in the garden at a later date.
The signs and symptoms of chocolate poisoning are usually noticeable within 4 hours of your pet eating it. These symptoms can last for up to 24 hours.
If you think your pet has eaten chocolate, you should contact your vet for advice immediately. The sooner any treatment begins, the less severe the effects will be for your pet. Keep the chocolate packaging to hand so your vet will have an idea of how serious your pet’s poisoning might be.
At first, you might notice your pet is:
· Drinking more than usual
· Has a sore, tender tummy and doesn’t want to be touched there
· Is restless and won’t settle.
As the poisoning gets worse you might notice you pet is:
· shaking and trembling
· has an unusual and irregular heartbeat
· feels like they have a temperature
· is panting or breathing quickly.
In really severe cases your pet can start to have a fit and might suffer from kidney failure. If too much is ingested or if treatment isn't sought quickly enough your pet could die from eating chocolate so we cannot stress how important it is that you contact your vet as soon as you notice any of the symptoms and suspect that your dog has eaten chocolate.
The signs and symptoms of raisin toxicity:
Grape and raisin poisoning will usually cause dogs to develop some combination of the following symptoms:
· Vomiting and diarrhoea - often within a few hours of ingestion. (Check vomit and faecal contents for unusual material that may contain pieces of grapes or raisin.)
· Loss of appetite
· Lethargy, weakness, unusual quietness
· Abdominal pain
· Oliguria (passing only a small amount of urine)
· Anuria (complete cessation of urine)
· Foul breath
· Oral ulcers
This is a genuine emergency and your veterinary surgeon should be contacted immediately. Easter egg hunts are really popular during Easter. If you’re thinking of having one, keep pets out of the way during the hunt and while you set it up. Make a note of where all the eggs where hidden so you can check they’ve all be found before you let you pets back into the area.
Wishing you and your furry friends a Happy and Safe Easter Bank Holiday Weekend!