Easter food pet warning

Chocolate eggs, sweets and hot cross buns may be tempting treats, but they can be potentially fatal if eaten by pets. Chocolate and products containing cocoa contain a chemical called theobromine that dogs cannot break down.

The darker the chocolate, the higher the cocoa content, and even small amounts can cause heart problems, fits and affect the kidneys. Raisins and sultanas in hot cross buns and simnel cake can also be toxic to pets, while the traditional Easter Sunday dinner can cause problems with gastroenteritis or choking on bones.

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning can include vomiting, diarrhoea and increased heart rate, and it can lead to seizures and cardiac failure. Darker chocolate carries a greater the risk of poisoning and, the smaller the dog, the more dangerous eating chocolate is.

Some people may prefer sweets to chocolate but be aware that many of these contain an artificial sweetener called xylitol, which is toxic to pets. The safest option is to keep all chocolate and sweets locked away and well out of reach, but if you suspect your pet has eaten anything toxic, call your veterinary practice straight away.

While it’s tempting to give your pet some of your traditional Easter roast, turkey and lamb are rich and fatty and can increase the risk of risk of gastroenteritis and occasionally lead to pancreatitis. Cooked meat bones can also cause choking, a blockage or perforate the intestine.