Easter alert for dog owners

Did you know that chocolate was toxic for dogs? As are sultanas and raisins?

With Easter just around the corner, it’s a good idea to be mindful of where you hide the chocolate eggs, and double-check just how accessible those raisin-filled hot-cross-buns on the kitchen bench are to your four-legged family-members.

What does chocolate do?

Chocolate is toxic to dogs because it contains theobromine and caffeine. These are not harmful to humans because we metabolise them quicky, but dogs process them much more slowly, allowing toxic compounds to build up in their system.

The effects of chocolate toxicity will differ depending on the size of your dog, the type of chocolate they eat, and how much of it they gobble up. Milder symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea, while more extreme responses may include seizures, tremors, irregular heart-rate, heart arrhythmia, and internal bleeding.

What do grapes and sultanas do?

Scientists have not yet discovered why sultanas, currants, raisins and grapes, can be so dangerous for dogs, or why they seem to affect some dogs and not others, but the toxicity is thought to be related to levels of tartaric acid in the grape / sultana skins.

These foods have the potential to cause rapid, sometimes permanent and possibly life-threatening kidney failure, so it’s important to keep those hot-cross-buns out of reach at all times.

Help! My dog ate that!

If you see (or suspect) that your dog has eaten either chocolate or grapes or raisins, don’t wait for the symptoms to appear. Call or visit your vet immediately, or contact your closest emergency vet clinic. The sooner your dog is treated, the more likely it is that they will recover without long-term damage.