How to deal if your dog eats your Easter chocolate!

Pet health, dogs, caring for your dogs at easter
Image credit: iStock

With Easter just around the corner, the arrival of the Easter Bunny and all his chocolatey goodness is imminent. Unfortunately, this can spell DANGER ZONE for our doggie friends who can sniff out chocolate and gobble it down faster than you can unwrap an Easter egg.

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Now, everyone knows that chocolate isn’t good for dogs. But most people don’t know why chocolate is bad for dogs. Or which types of chocolate are the most deadly for dogs.  So, hopefully I can shed a little light and remind people why their dogs should not join in the Easter egg hunt.

Chocolate contains a compound called theobromine which is a naturally occurring stimulant found in the cocoa bean. This is easily metabolised and of little consequence to us humans. However, for our four legged counterparts who can’t metabolise it, toxicity occurs. This can range from vomiting and diarrhoea to an increased heart rate, muscle twitching, and in severe cases, seizures and death.

So, what do you do if your dog eats chocolate? Firstly, don’t panic! I know it’s hard not to! All you have to remember is the Three Ts:

Type of chocolate is very important, because the darker the chocolate the more toxic. This is due to its higher concentration of cocoa and therefore the toxic theobromine.  White chocolate is consequently pretty much harmless and the very bitter dark chocolate is the most dangerous.

Total amount of chocolate is also important. There is a toxic threshold for each type of chocolate in regards to your dog’s weight. As such the bigger the dog, technically the more chocolate they can tolerate.

Time is of the essence. As soon as you notice your pooch has eaten chocolate, call you local vet armed with the above information (keep the packaging!) and approximate time of consumption. Your vet will then advise you whether you need to come in, and what the appropriate treatment may be. In most cases, if caught within two hours, the dog will be made to vomit and then monitored and likely need no further treatment. In severe cases when many hours have passed, the dog may have to be hospitalised for days.

So remember, if you notice a couple of eggs missing around Easter and your housemate or partner swears it wasn’t them, consider other possible furry culprits and remember the Three T’s!

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Dr Josie Gollan
If anyone can make veterinary science look good, it’s Dr Josie Gollan. Since graduating from Sydney University with Bachelor of Veterinary Science (with First Class Honours), Josie has practiced as both an equine and small animal vet. Currently, Josie is a dedicated vet at Sydney’s Animal Doctors clinic, treating creatures both big and small. She is an avid horse-rider and her love for, as well as extensive knowledge of the equine industry has facilitated Josie securing her title as the ‘Official Race Day Veterinarian’ for Racing NSW. Adding to this, Josie has written numerous articles for Trackside Magazine. Josie was a Guest Reporter on the broadcast of Channel 9’s Magic Millions in 2014. Josie also regularly appears on the Nine Network’s Today show as a Guest Vet to educate viewers on pet-related stories. Away from the camera, Josie is a sought-after keynote for many leading events in the vet and pet industry including the Dog Lovers Show held recently in Sydney where she performed two talks per day on the main stage. There isn’t much this beauty can’t do! Josie has a passion for travel and is a sporting enthusiast - tennis, hockey, touch-football and athletics are among her hobbies. She is even a certified ski instructor!