Christmas Brings Chocolate Poisoning Warning For Dogs

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Dog owners are being warned to resist giving their best friend Christmas chocolate treats after researchers found a peak in poisoning over the festive period.

Chocolate boxes, cakes, liqueurs, Santa figurines and advent calendars were common culprits, according to the study. They're twice as likely during Easter.

They examined the 2012-2017 records of 229 animal hospitals or clinics in the United Kingdom and identified 386 cases of chocolate exposure involving 375 dogs.

Dogs don't react well to certain chemicals in cocoa beans and eating chocolate can lead to vomiting, irregular heartbeat, signs of agitation or seizures. Luckily for the poor poochies, none of these symptoms were considered life-threatening.

Dogs can suffer digestive issues, tremors and seizures if they consume chocolate as it contains theobromine, which they are allergic to.

They wrote: 'Chocolate ingestion has a unique seasonal pattern which merits highlighting this risk to clients, particularly in the run-up to Christmas and Easter as chocolate becomes more accessible within the household'.

"We thought this was a useful message to put out around Christmas to help owners avoid an unwanted visit to the vet", said study co-author P-J Nobel, a senior lecturer in internal medicine at the Institute of Veterinary Science at the University of Liverpool. The research found that pups are four times more likely to go to the veterinarian for chocolate poisoning during Christmastime than any non-holiday time of the year. No particular breed was associated with an elevated risk. The British researchers hope that their findings will raise awareness and help dog owners prepare by being more careful with what candies they leave unattended around the house.

The one treatment the vet will need to administer is getting the dog to throw up - if this happens away from the vet, it is recommended that the dog not receive any food or water immediately after.

FYI, theobromine is deadly for humans too - though to cop a fatal dose you'd have to eat about 30 blocks of milk chocolate or nine blocks of dark chocolate in one hit.

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