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As this is the Easter weekend, pet owners across Cheshire are cautioned to stay vigilant as chocolate-related vet visits are increasing at this time of year.
Many of us will be eating our body weight in chocolate this weekend, but Easter chocolate, despite the obvious temptation, can pose a serious risk if eaten by pets.
Here’s a guide to warn you of the dangers, the symptoms to look out for, and how to keep your pet safe this Easter.
Chocolate poisoning can be fatal
Chocolate poisoning in pets is caused by the chemical theobromine.
This can be toxic to cats and dogs as their digestive systems cannot break it down.
The effects of chocolate poisoning depend on the amount and type of chocolate consumed, and the size and breed of the pet.
Dark chocolate tends to have higher levels of theobromine, but can also be found in whites and milks.
Even small amounts of chocolate can be toxic to pets. Hence, it is important to be aware of the most common symptoms to look out for.
These symptoms usually appear four to 24 hours after consuming it.
5 common symptoms that your pet has chocolate poisoning:
Alternatives to chocolate for your pet for Easter:
Just because your pets can’t eat chocolate doesn’t mean they should go without treats during Easter.
Here are some great pet-friendly alternatives:
Carob – A well-known healthy alternative that comes from the carob plant. Carob is rich in vitamin B2, calcium, magnesium and iron.
Peanut Butter – A spoon is a safe alternative to chocolate that provides healthy fats and proteins for your dog’s diet.
Carrots – Carrots help improve dental health and are a great source of vitamin A for your dog.
Banana – A great treat that is high in potassium and vitamins but should only be given occasionally due to the high sugar content.
Cooked fish – tuna, salmon, or mackerel are great sources of protein and omega-3 that cats love.
Peas – Peas are often found in commercial cat foods. Peas are high in fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin A, and can be fed to frozen or raw cats.
Skinless apples – This great alternative is high in fiber and vitamin C.
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Sally Jaques, GoCompare Pet Insurance Expert, added: “In the run-up to Easter, it’s important to raise awareness of the risks associated with consuming chocolate and pets.
“Since more chocolate is bought into the house at this time of year, there is a higher risk of accidents.
“We recommend keeping chocolates like Easter eggs or chocolate cake away from curious pets.
“Accidents happen. If you notice any of the symptoms listed and suspect that your pet has eaten something harmful, here are five methods.”
What to Do If Your Pet Eats Easter Chocolate
Call your local veterinarian – the first step is to see a doctor. This is to avoid long-term effects and to minimize short-term effects. Talking to a healthcare professional is the best solution if you are trying to be time efficient.
Don’t Try To Induce Vomiting – If you are concerned that the amount of chocolate your pet has consumed is fatal. Do not try to force vomiting. It can be very dangerous to seek professional help as soon as possible.
The type of chocolate – Keep an eye on the type of chocolate consumed. This can be of great help in assessing deaths. For example, dark chocolate is more dangerous than white chocolate.
Keep Track of Details – Details like your pet’s weight and how much they may have consumed are critical for health care professionals to determine how toxic it will be to the dog. This then helps in providing the best solutions.
Keep Calm – Time and accuracy are the most important factors in minimizing harm to your pet. The calmer you are, the faster you can find the right solution to help your pet recover.
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