Keep your pets away from chocolate this Easter

April 4, 2012

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Murdoch University Veterinary Hospital is warning pet owners against the temptation to share chocolate with their dogs this Easter.

Murdoch Pet Emergency Centre (MPEC) lecturer, Dr Melissa Claus, said it is not unusual to have pets utilising the critical care service as a result of chocolate toxicity.

“Sadly chocolate can be poisonous to dogs,” Dr Claus said.

“The darker the chocolate, the higher the cocoa content and the more toxic it is to dogs.

“A dog weighing five kilograms could develop mild signs of toxicity after eating 50 grams of milk chocolate or just seven grams of cooking chocolate.”

“The same size dog could seizure after eating 100 grams of milk chocolate or 15 grams of cooking chocolate, and ingestion of larger amounts can cause death.

“The signs to look for include hyperactivity, tremors, seizures, a fast or irregular heartbeat, panting, overheating, or collapse.”

Dr Claus said chocolate is toxic to dogs because of the theobromine and caffeine content. White chocolate doesn’t contain these compounds but should still be avoided as it can cause vomiting and diarrhoea.

“If a toxic dose of chocolate has been ingested, immediate veterinary attention is required to help decrease absorption of chocolate and its toxic components,” Dr Claus said.

“It is important to move quickly and get your dog to a veterinarian in case toxicity develops.

“We recommend you purchase treats designed specifically for dogs, such as those for sale at your local veterinary clinic.”

MPEC provides a 24 hour, seven day a week comprehensive emergency and critical care service at Murdoch’s South Street campus. For assistance with emergency cases contact MPEC on 1300 652 494.

Media contact: Hayley Mayne
Tel: (08) 9360 2491  |  Mobile: 0400 297 221  |  Email: h.mayne@murdoch.edu.au
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