This Easter I learned of the dangers involved in feeding your dog chocolate.  My friend called me on Sunday night, in floods of tears to tell me that Bruno, her West Highland Terrier had passed away. Not only was he a dog, he was an integral part of her family for the past seven years. I was shocked to learn that his death was as a result of eating an Easter egg which belonged to one of her children. The kids had opened some of their eggs on Easter Sunday morning and had put them to one side, but not out of Bruno’s reach. On their return from mass my friend walked into the kitchen to find Bruno having a seizure. She ushered her two daughters into the sitting room with her husband and gathered the little dog in her arms, placed him in the back of her car and drove to her neighbour who is a vet. Unfortunately Bruno didn’t make it. Within a matter of minutes, the vet knew what had happened, Bruno had eaten some chocolate which was too much for his little body to take.

 

West Highland Terrier photo by  Randy Roberston/Flickr

West Highland Terrier photo by Randy Roberston/Flickr

Prior to this, I personally was not aware of the effect that the consumption of human chocolate can have on a dog and sadly this is the case for many dog owners also. This week, I wanted to write about this subject matter to make people aware that human chocolate can actually kill a dog. I contacted the Dogs Trust -Ireland’s largest dog welfare charity who told me that each year they run a campaign to make people aware of the facts.  It pointed out that even though people might not actually hand chocolate to their dog, it could very well be the case that Easter eggs are left in reach of a dog and he/she may indulge it in when their owners back is turned. Renagh Kelly who is a Veterinary Surgeon at the Dogs Trust said “apart from the risks of obesity and the obvious dangers of eating the foil wrapping, the biggest risk for dogs that eat human chocolate is poisoning, resulting in an emergency dash to the vet and sadly even death.”

Chocolate Easter Egg photo by Adam Wyles

Chocolate Easter Egg photo by Adam Wyles/Flickr

The organisation told me that around 50g of plain chocolate could be enough to kill a small dog like a Yorkshire Terrier, while 400g could be enough to kill an average sized dog. So to all the dog lovers out there, please keep your four legged friends safe and make sure they don’t get their paws on any human chocolate! If you do suspect that your dog may have eaten some chocolate, look out for symptoms such as vomiting (containing blood), excessive thirst, drooling, a rapid heart rate and in severe cases, epileptic-type fits and most importantly contact your vet ASAP!

Note: Further information about the Dogs Trust and caring for you dog can be found at www.dogstrust.ie