With Easter right on our doorsteps, it’s time to butter up those hot crossed buns and indulge in an Easter egg or two…or 3 (we don’t judge 😉). But as great as Easter treats are, they are not for everyone. Though tempted to share the joy with our pets, you should refrain from doing so at all costs!
Chocolate contains two very lethal components to dogs – theobromine and caffeine. There are 1-9 milligrams of theobromine (which is a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant) per gram of chocolate, with high levels found in dark chocolate and even higher levels in Cocoa powder! Whereas grapes and raisins, which are found in hot crossed buns, are also extremely toxic to dogs.
Although the reason for grapes having a fatal effect on a dogs health is still being studied, they can cause severe kidney damage. It may also lead to sudden kidney failure with lack of urine production in some dogs.
Both caffeine and theobromine cause elevated heart rate, blood pressure, and abnormal heart rhythms. Caffeine is absorbed ten times faster than theobromine, which takes up to ten hours to peak. Signs are usually seen 2-4 hours after eating the chocolate and can last up to 72 hours.
If you suspect that your dog has consumed chocolate, here are some signs to watch out for:
- Muscle tremors/shaking
- Hyperthermia (high body temperature)
Can occur at toxic levels and causes panting, the main way dogs lose body heat.
In more serious cases, it may cause stiffness, uncoordinated movement, seizures and coma. Death results from problems with heart rhythm or failure of the respiratory system.
Similar symptoms appear if your dog has consumed grapes, with the addition of:
- Loss of appetite
- Lethargy, weakness, unusual quietness
- Abdominal pain
- Oliguria (passing only a small amount of urine)
- Foul breath
In any case, if you suspect that your pet may have gotten into the chocolate egg hunt or joined in on Easter afternoon tea, contact the team at Pet Doctor or an emergency clinic ASAP! We will see to it that your pet will be taken care of and looked after so you can get back to enjoying your long weekend stress free!