Keeping your dog safe and happy at Easter

09 April 2020

Like many humans, dogs enjoy eating chocolate. The difference is that ingesting chocolate can be fatally dangerous for dogs.

Vision Australia’s Veterinary and Reproduction Manager Nicola is here with some useful tips to keep your dog safe and happy over the Easter period.

Why dogs like chocolate

According to Dr Cotton, dogs, like many people, are drawn to chocolate because of its sweetness. A dog’s sense of smell means they’re often capable of sniffing out your sweet treats.

“It’s common for a dog to sniff out and eat chocolate even if it’s still in its wrapper,” Dr said.

Because of this, you should make sure you keep your Easter stash in spot that your dog can’t get to.

Why dogs can’t eat chocolate

Chocolate contains a molecule called theobromine. While humans can metabolise theobromine, it is toxic for dogs as it over-stimulates a dog’s nervous system.

“It speeds up their heart rate, makes them hypersensitive to sounds and touch, and causes hyperactivity,” Dr Cotton said

“They may also vomit or develop diarrhea.”

In serious cases, eating chocolate can result in your dog requiring veterinary intervention and can prove fatal.

What to do if your dog has eaten chocolate.

You should take immediate action if your dog has eaten chocolate, or if you suspect it has.

You should call your nearest emergency vet clinic. If you dog appears seriously unwell, you should go to your nearest clinic immediately.

Dr Cotton said dog owners should not be complacent and should take action even if their dog has eaten chocolate in the past with no ill-effects, as there are number of factors that can impact the effect chocolate has on a dog.

“These include whether the dog has recently exercised, how much it has eaten, how much water it has drunk, and the type of chocolate consumed.

“The darker the chocolate, the higher the levels of cocoa and therefore, more theobromine.”

How you can give your dog an Easter treat

Just because your dog can’t have an Easter egg, don’t mean they can’t join the Easter fun.

Dr Cotton said people can give their dog the same treats they would usually get, but like everyone else at Easter the key is not to go overboard.

There’s also no reason that your dog can’t have the fun that comes from hunting for Easter treats.

“As a special surprise, hide your dog’s treats so they can enjoy sniffing them out,” she said.