Easter is coming and we all know how hard it can be to refuse the offer of chocolate. Our pets probably feel the same way, but the difference between them and us is that they don’t know that it can cause them harm. 

Chocolate contains theobromine, which is safe for humans, but toxic to many pets. The higher the cocoa content, the more theobromine it contains. Animals find it hard to digest the chemical, which allows it to circulate in the bloodstream and cause damage to the central nervous and circulatory systems. Meaning, chocolate and pets on their own are great, but the combination can be lethal. 

Whilst it’s widely know that chocolate and pets don’t mix, around Easter it can be hard to keep track of the two. Especially with chocolate egg hunts happening in backyards across the country. 

The most common symptoms of chocolate poisoning are: 

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhoea

  • Restlessness

  • Shaking

  • Panting

  • Increased urination

  • Seizures

  • Shaking

  • Increased water consumption

Here’s what to do if you know or suspect that your pet has beaten the kids to the goodies this Easter:

  • If you catch your pet in the act, remove any available chocolate and try to retrieve any remaining chocolate from their mouth. Even the smallest amount can cause serious problems.

  • Should you discover your pet has already eaten chocolate, stay calm and try to determine the kind of chocolate and if possible how much. Then call your veterinarian and be sure to explain the situation with as much detail as possible.

  • Milk chocolate typically has lower levels of theobromine, so if you have a larger animal that eats a small amount of milk chocolate you may not need to rush them to the vet. You will, however, want to monitor their behaviour over the next 72 hours.

Whilst our furry friends cannot indulge in chocolate it doesn’t mean that they have to go without a treat, but please remember that no amount of chocolate is safe for them!

Megan Seccull