Keep Easter Eggs Away from Pets!

Vet charity PDSA is issuing a warning after a Chihuahua needed life-saving treatment after tucking into a milk chocolate Easter egg. 

PDSA vet teams treat hundreds of chocolate poisoning cases in their Pet Hospitals every year, so the charity is urging pet owners to be vigilant this Easter. 

Mother-of-five, Tracy (39) from Chatham said she knew something was desperately wrong when two-year-old Bailey started acting strangely. 

“He became really lethargic and just wasn’t himself. Soon after I found torn up Easter egg foil with all the chocolate gone, so I knew he needed to be seen urgently.

“I’m very careful with chocolate around our dogs as I know it’s poisonous for them, but my seven-year-old son had hidden an egg under a pillow thinking Bailey wouldn’t be able to find it. I rang PDSA immediately and they advised me to bring him straight in.”

Vets at Gillingham PDSA Pet Hospital rushed Bailey in as an emergency and gave him treatment to induce vomiting in a bid to stop any more of the toxins being absorbed. Bailey’s small breed size means that even small amounts of chocolate can be deadly.

PDSA Senior Vet Soo Ming Teoh, said: “We estimated that Bailey had eaten about half an Easter egg, which is an extremely dangerous amount for a dog of his very small size, therefore we knew he was at risk of serious disturbances to his heart rhythm or even seizures.

“Thankfully he was brought in very quickly and we were able to give him life-saving treatment before too much of the toxin got into his system. He needed close monitoring and intravenous fluid support due to an increased heart rate, likely caused by the amount of chocolate he’d eaten. But after a few hours of observation and treatment he was able to go home with instructions to keep a close eye on him overnight.”

Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine, which is toxic to dogs. Signs your pet may have eaten chocolate can include excessive thirst, vomiting, diarrhoea, a tender tummy and restlessness. These can then progress to tremors, an abnormal heart rhythm, raised body temperature and rapid breathing. In small breeds like Bailey, the effects of chocolate poisoning can be extremely severe even if only a small amount is eaten.  

In severe cases, chocolate poisoning in dogs can cause fits and even death. The higher the cocoa content of the chocolate, the more dangerous it is, so dark chocolate poses the biggest risk to pets.

Tracy wants to warn other pet owners about the dangers chocolate can pose to pets.

She said: “We’re so grateful to all of the staff at PDSA. It was devastating when it all happened and I dread to think what would have happened to Bailey without them.

“It took him a little while to fully recover from his ordeal but thankfully he is back to his usual self now and we’re keeping chocolate well out of reach so we don’t have to go through this scary experience again.”

If owners suspect their dog has ingested chocolate, they should call their local vet immediately and let them know the type of chocolate, how much they’ve eaten and when.

PDSA is also warning pet owners about other popular Easter foods that can be toxic to pets, including hot cross buns as well as the dangers of some spring plants at this time of year, such as daffodils and lilies.

PDSA vets advise owners to store chocolates and other potentially poisonous foods 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 treat, a new toy or a nice long walk is a better alternative than high calorie snacks.

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