Russell Hall, a senior vet at Avonvale Veterinary Centre, has spoken out to highlight just how toxic chocolate can be for family pets.
He is urging all dog owners to be extra careful where they leave their Easter eggs and other chocolate treats during the holiday period.
Chocolate contains theobromine, a substance which is extremely harmful to dogs as they struggle to metabolise it, so it builds up in their bodies to toxic levels.
There are also increased levels of cocoa in many chocolate products today, which poses a greater risk to dogs than before.
If a dog is suffering from chocolate poisoning, they can display symptoms including hyperactivity, vomiting, diarrhoea and fits.
Russell warned: “All chocolate and cocoa products should be kept well out of the reach of dogs as they can be very harmful or even fatal to them.
“Dark chocolate is the most dangerous because it has a higher cocoa content but milk chocolate is also a threat, as just a couple of small pieces can be enough to cause a problem.
“Information is the key and knowing the type of chocolate, the amount eaten and even keeping the chocolate wrapper can all help, as the wrapper should tell us the amount of cocoa content in the treat.
“The first two hours after eating chocolate can be vital for your pet’s recovery, so if your pet has eaten any chocolate or similar treats containing cocoa, it’s essential to call a vet immediately. The sooner your dog is seen and treated the better.”
Avonvale has six surgeries across the county in Leamington, Stratford, Kenilworth, Wellesbourne, and Southam, as well as their flagship practice in Warwick, which includes a small pet hospital offering 24-hour emergency cover.
For more information, visit /www.avonvets.co.uk.