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Easter Chocolate Warning
Pet Insurance Australia is issuing a timely reminder regarding chocolate toxicity and pets during the Easter period.
“It’s that time of year again when chocolate is the favoured delicacy across Australia,” Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia says. “It’s around this time of year we see a decent spike in chocolate toxicity claims for our pets.”
Chocolate poisoning claims tend to double around the Easter month, with pets sadly succumbing to the effects of eating this toxic substance.
“Unlike their two-legged humans – chocolate is very toxic to our pets,” Crighton warns. “Luckily many cats simply do not have a sweet tooth, our dogs however have no problems devouring a delicious egg or two that can lead to serious complications.”
Toxicity depends on the amount of chocolate eaten, the type of chocolate, and the size of your dog. The darker the chocolate the more at risk your pet is of becoming seriously ill. The common levels for milk chocolate are around 14grams per kilogram of the weight of your dog to cause serious issues. For dark chocolate, this is as little as 3.5grams per kilogram of dog weight.
“We’ve seen cases where this type of toxicity can leave a pet owner out of pocket upwards of $3,000,” Crighton says. “In many cases, pets are lucky to survive, and the seriousness of chocolate poisoning seems to be underestimated until the worst occurs.”
Why is Chocolate so very bad for our pets?
Chocolate is made by roasting the seeds of the Theobroma Cacao, which contain two toxic properties for animals; caffeine and theobromine. Ingesting these properties can be fatal for a companion animal.
“Chocolate poisoning is the most common form of claimed toxicity in Australia, so it’s very important that pet owners take extra precautions during Easter,” Crighton says. “Explaining the seriousness of this to children and also ensuring your chocolate is kept up and away from pets is a simple way to keep your pet safe.”
Pet Insurance Australia also suggests having some special Easter treats for your pet.
“If you have some special Easter treats available for your pet it can help educate others on why we do not feed pets chocolate,” Crighton says. “However most times, dogs get into trouble sniffing out your secret collection, so always keep these up and out of reach from your pets, it only takes a few minutes for a dog to devour a huge amount of chocolate.”
Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include:
- High temperature
- Rapid breathing
- Abnormal behavior
- Muscle rigidity
- Increased heart rate
“If you suspect your pet has ingested any chocolate it is imperative you contact your local emergency centre or vet immediately,” Crighton says. “Symptoms can occur 1-4 hours after ingestion, including tremors, vomiting, and diarrhea, panting and restlessness, among more serious effects including seizures and heart problems.”
Photo by James Barker