Posted: Thu 17th Apr 2014

Half a million dog owners admit to feeding their pets chocolate which can kill them

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Apr 17th, 2014


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The PDSA is urging pet owners to keep their Easter goodies well out of reach of  their pets’ paws this weekend, after research revealed that around 468,000 dogs are fed human chocolate by their owners, as they don’t understand that it is highly poisonous to pets and can prove fatal. 

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The extent of this worrying trend is revealed by the leading veterinary charity in its annual PAW Report – the largest pet health study of its kind – which surveyed thousands of owners across the UK about their pet’s health and wellbeing.  

Owners in the North East are the biggest culprits, with more than a fifth (22%) owning up to feeding their dogs the toxic treat, while 4% of owners in Wales admit admit to feeding their dog chocolate, in the north West its slightly higher.

 PDSA Senior Vet, Elaine Pendlebury, said:

“It’s very worrying to hear that chocolate intended for humans is being given to pets as a treat. It contains an ingredient called theobromine which is toxic to many animals, and the effects can prove fatal if not treated.”

High quality dark chocolate poses the biggest risk to dogs.  A small bar of dark chocolate contains more than enough theobromine to fatally poison a small dog such as a Yorkshire Terrier. 

PDSA vets and nurses see more than 400 cases of chocolate poisoning in dogs every year and often see a surge in cases around Easter and Christmas when chocolate is more prevalent in people’s homes.

 Elaine adds:

“Many owners love giving their pet a treat but are unaware of the dangers of chocolate and other harmful foods. The effects of chocolate poisoning in dogs usually appear within four hours of eating, and can last as long as 24 hours. Initial signs can include excessive thirst, vomiting, a sore stomach and restlessness. These symptoms can then progress to tremors, an abnormal heart rhythm, raised body temperature and rapid breathing.  In severe cases dogs can experience fits, kidney failure and can even die.”

Neville the Deeside.com office dog (pictured below) found his way into two boxes of chocolates last year, after wolfing them down he quickly became ill with many of the symptoms described, he managed to shrug off most of the effects due to a resilience built up by his scavenging habits, however his ‘constitution’ was unbalanced for a few days, and we can confirm it was ‘eye of the needle’ stuff for a few days.   

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 PDSA advises owners to store chocolates in the same way as medicines when they have pets in their household – safely and securely. And for those who can’t resist giving their four-legged friends a little Easter treat, a new toy or a nice long walk is a better alternative than treats.

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