Warning issued to dog owners about the dangers of chocolate poisoning this Easter weekend
PET owners are being advised to avoid leaving Easter eggs where their canine friends can reach them this weekend, as chocolate is highly toxic to dogs.
Dogs Trust said the Easter weekend can be a "recipe for disaster" if dogs get their paws on chocolate eggs.
Dogs Trust Veterinary Surgeon, Desré Daly, said that dogs should never be allowed to eat chocolate intended for human consumption, which can have potentially tragic consequences for dogs.
"It is the theobromine, a substance found in chocolate, which can be toxic to dogs. An individual dog’s sensitivity to chocolate is variable and depending on their body weight (and the type of chocolate ingested), even just a small bite of chocolate can make some dogs very sick, and in significant enough quantities, death could result," Ms Daly said.
"When a dog eats chocolate, the theobromine metabolizes more slowly than it does in humans. Theobromine interferes with the normal functioning of the central nervous system, heart and kidneys.
Ms Daly warned that without appropriate and timely treatment, it could lead to death.
Symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs include vomiting, drooling, excessive thirst, hyperactivity. rapid heart rate, tremors and potentially seizures.
Dogs Trust have released the following advice to pet owners ahead of the weekend;
- Never feed your dog chocolate intended for humans.
- Keep your chocolate in a safe place – this means hidden out of sight and out of reach from your dog.
- If your egg (or any chocolate) is missing and you suspect that your dog is the culprit, contact your vet straight away.
- Look out for any of the following symptoms; vomiting, diarrhoea, a sore tummy, excessive thirst, excitability, racing heart rate, drooling, tremors, or in severe cases, seizures
- If your dog is displaying any of these signs, then take him immediately to your vet.
- It is helpful if you can tell your vet how much chocolate, and the type of chocolate, you think your dog may have ingested. If you have any packaging, take it with you to the vets
- 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 doggy-friendly snacks that are kinder to your canine.
Pet specialist retailer Petmania have also warned against hot cross buns and Easter flowers.
Raisins in hot cross buns can cause severe acute kidney failure in cats and dogs, the retailer said.
"Eating the bulbs, flowers, or even drinking water from a vase with flowers can cause a very sick stomach and can make the pet vomit," a spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, the ISPCA is asking consumers to think about where their hen's eggs come from.
According to the group, over three million egg laying hens are farmed per year in Ireland, and over half of them, nearly 1.9 million (54pc) are caged.
ISPCA CEO Dr Andrew Kelly said: “The End the Cage Age initiative is the single biggest and most collaborative animal welfare campaign to be launched in this generation. Over 140 animal welfare organisations across Europe are participating, and we are incredibly close to one million EU Citizens supporting a cage-free future for farm animals.”
The ISPCA are calling for the Irish government to introduce a legislative ban or phase out of the use of cages for laying hens by 2025.
A number of Irish retailers, including Tesco, McDonalds, Aldi and Lidl, have gone cage free for both shell eggs and eggs used in other products.
The ISPCA are hosting the 'End the Cage Age' exhibition in Dublin’s CHQ building, 1 Custom House Quay, North Dock, Dublin from 18th - 23rd April 2019, to highlight animal welfare issues for laying hens.