Healthy Easter alternatives toxic to pets

It’s the time of year where many eat as much chocolate as we can – any way we can! Chocolate egg hunts in the back yard and around the house are just as much fun for our pets as it is for the young and young at heart.

However this can be fatal for Fido. Lort Smith vets are reminding everyone that chocolate is toxic to dogs. More alarming for those trying to be more health conscious is that the darker the chocolate, the more damage it can do.

Chocolate toxicity is a common poisoning as it is highly palatable and attractive to most animals. Mild signs can include vomiting, diarrhoea and restlessness. However in higher doses, chocolate can be life threatening.

More serious consequences include an irregular heartbeat, high temperature, muscle tremors, fits and even death. For example, a dog that weighs 10 kilograms can show symptoms of moderate toxicity within a few hours of consuming either 110g of milk chocolate, 35g of dark chocolate, or 14g of cooking chocolate.

It has also become increasingly popular for health-conscious families to fill hollow plastic eggs for Easter hunts with ‘healthy’ alternatives, including grapes and other dried fruit. While well intended, these foods can be toxic to dogs.

Symptoms of toxicity from fresh and dried grapes can range from diarrhoea and vomiting, to poisoning which could lead to kidney failure.

Recently, Hungarian vizsla Parker Pretzel was admitted to Lort Smith Animal Hospital after consuming five snack sized boxes of dried sultanas and apricots.

Luckily his carer immediately brought him to Lort Smith where he underwent a gastric lavage – the flushing of his stomach. Parker Pretzel had to remain at Lort Smith for two days and fortunately made a full recovery.

If you notice your animal is showing signs of toxicity from chocolate or if they have consumed any amount of dried fruit or fresh grapes, seek immediate veterinary attention.

Lort Smith is open for pet emergencies every day of the year.