A guide to keeping your dog safe in run up to Easter

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25 March 2021
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Answers to most commonly asked questions on dogs consuming chocolate revealed.

As people across the UK prepare for at-home Easter celebrations, Natures Menu, the UK’s number one for raw and natural pet food, is reminding owners to keep their chocolate out of paws’ reach this bank holiday.

To avoid an unexpected trip to the vets this Easter, Melanie Sainsbury, Veterinary Education Manager at Natures Menu, shares tips for keeping dogs safe, symptoms to look out for in case your dog has consumed chocolate and answers the most commonly asked questions regarding dogs eating Easter treats.

Top Tips

  1. Store your chocolate high and well out of reach of dogs! If you have a dog that can sniff out the sweet stuff, keep it out of sight and smell.
  2. Never feed your dog chocolate intended for humans. Make sure you have a dog-friendly treat available, so they don’t feel left out.
  3. If you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, don’t panic. Call your vet immediately for advice and make sure you have the packaging to hand.

Symptoms to look out for

In the unfortunate circumstance that your dog had consumed chocolate without you noticing, symptoms can usually appear within 12 hours and can last up to three days. These include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased heart rate
  • Restlessness
  • Retching
  • Collapsing
  • Muscle tremors
  • Seizures­
  • Loss of consciousness

What is it about chocolate that makes it so hazardous to dogs?

The reason why chocolate is so toxic is because of an ingredient called theobromine, a naturally occurring chemical found in cocoa beans. The amount of theobromine in chocolate varies, however darker chocolate tends to contain higher-levels than milk or white chocolate – but all should be completely avoided.

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How come humans can eat it, but dogs can’t?

Humans are able to metabolise theobromine, but dogs lack the vital enzyme required to break it down effectively, which is why it can be really dangerous if consumed.

Are other sweet Easter treats ok for dogs?

An additional risk especially at this time of year is an ingredient called Xylitol. This is regularly used as a sugar replacement in many sugar-free foods, as it contains far less calories than real sugar but is highly toxic to dogs in small amounts. It can be found in foods such as peanut butter, sugar-free sweets, mints and many more. Keeping all sweets and treats out of dog’s reach is highly advised.

What would you recommend giving your dog to eat instead at Easter?

“While a lot of us are stocking up on treats to get excited for the four-day weekend, it doesn’t mean that we have to leave our canine companions out of the celebrations. You can look to satisfy them with a dog friendly treat such as our Country Hunter Chewy Superfood Bars, which can be delivered direct to your door through our home delivery service. These bars are suitable for all dogs and made with great tasting natural ingredients, while being rich in protein.”

Natures Menu specialises in natural dog and cat food made with fully traceable quality meats and fish, blended vegetables, fruits and healthy carbohydrates - and uses British suppliers and ethical product sources wherever possible.