However, not everyone can enjoy this treat. Chocolate is extremely dangerous to dogs because it contains a stimulant called theobromine. A bit like caffeine, this stimulant mainly affects the the heart, central nervous system and kidneys and can cause death in serious cases.
Dark chocolate contains the most theobromine and the side effects of ingesting this usually occur between four to 24 hours depending on the amount your dog has eaten. If you think your dog may have taken a sneaky bite of your chocolate egg, you should look out for:
- Rapid breathing
- Muscle tension
- Increased heart rate
If you're able to estimate the amount of chocolate your dog has eaten, this can be invaluable to helping treat your beloved pet. Even taking the wrapper with you to the vet will help determine the dosage of theobromine as white chocolate contains a minimal amount. Milk chocolate contains 44-64mg whereas if they ingest semi-sweet or sweet dark chocolate this jumps up to 150-160mg. Even dry cocoa powder and baking chocolate is toxic and should be put out of reach.
Unfortunately, there is no antidote for chocolate poisoning and all vets can do is either make your dog vomit, or wash out the stomach and feed them charcoal to absorb any theobromine left in the intestines. Depending on the signs your dog is showing, they may also put them on a drip or medication to help control the heart rate, seizures and blood pressure.
The PDSA vigorously campaigned this Easter to try and raise awareness about this serious and potentially fatal problem. They revealed that last Easter more than 400 dogs were treated for chocolate poisoning, an astonishing figure, and a PDSA Animal Wellbeing Report found that seven per cent of owners regularly feed their dogs chocolate as a treat.
It's also not just Easter eggs you should watch out for. Other Easter goodies including chocolate covered raisins, peanuts and coffee beans are even more dangerous because of the lethal cocktail of of toxic chemicals they contain.
These statistics found by the PDSA are incredible considering the number of dog owners in the UK. There are plenty of chocolate free alternative treats you can provide for man's best friend to make Easter more pet friendly.
Pets at Home have a range of of cocoa and gluten free Easter Eggs for dogs. Made from carob, a commonly known substitute for chocolate, it's a dog friendly treat to show your dog you care. Just visit Pets at Home Easter Range Or if you prefer not to give your dog food, why not treat he or she to a new toy or a long walk (when the sun eventually comes out).
It's not just dogs who can enjoy an Easter treat, Pets at Home also provide Easter Egg alternatives for small furries and cats too.
So if you have any leftover chocolate this Easter, make sure you put it away somewhere secure where no dogs can get to it. There's nothing worse than a trip to the vets and your dog will appreciate a substitute a lot more.