PET TIPS: Beware, Easter Candy Can Kill Your Dog
Saturday, April 16, 2022
BY LAURA FOURNIOTIS
BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital
Veterinarians from BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital are issuing a warning for pet owners ahead of Easter, fearing a higher-than-usual uptick in chocolate toxicity cases. BluePearl, which has over 100 pet hospitals across the U.S. that see more than 1.2 pets annually, sees an alarming 321% increase in chocolate toxicity cases on Easter each year. However, according to new data released by the National Confectioners Association, Easter candy sales are expected to be 5-7% higher in 2022, which could bring even more pets into the veterinary ER.
image courtesy of iStock
“Spring represents one of the busiest times of the year for BluePearl, as together our hospitals see tens of thousands of pet emergencies, with many of these emergencies relating to chocolate toxicity or other food related illnesses,” remarked Dr. James Barr, Chief Medical Officer at BluePearl. “Millions of Jellybeans and chocolate bunnies sold this time each year, so it is important pet owners understand the risks posed to pets when bringing these goodies into their homes. Even a small amount of some of these candies can be harmful or even fatal for our furry companions.”
While jellybeans and chocolate are sweet treats for humans, they are not safe for dogs. Jellybeans may contain poisonous ingredients such as xylitol or caffeine, and chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine which is toxic to dogs. Although Easter is a wonderful time for the whole family, it is critical to follow medical advice to ensure you do not spend your Easter at the emergency vet hospital.
Follow these expert tips to keep Fido safe this Easter:
Know the dangers – Chocolate contains a toxic ingredient called theobromine which is poisonous to dogs. The amount of theobromine typically depends on the type of chocolate, with darker, purer varieties having the highest levels. Due to their size and weight, puppies and small dogs are most at risk from chocolate toxicity. Chocolate poisoning symptoms typically appear within 12 hours and can last up to three days. Symptoms may include excessive thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness/hyperactivity, tremors, abnormal heart rate, hyperthermia, and rapid breathing. In more severe cases, dogs can experience heartbeat irregularities, coma, or death.
Secure goodies - Dogs have inquisitive noses and can easily sniff out goodies. Make sure chocolate treats are securely stored in closed bins or cabinets and keep shopping bags containing Easter eggs off counters and floors. When hosting, be sure to clean up after guests, making sure wrappers and candy are disposed of in tied garbage bags and promptly taken to outside bins.
Act fast. While assessment and treatment may immediately be required, symptoms typically occur between four and up to 24 hours after ingestion. If you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, do not wait for signs and symptoms to occur. Contact your local veterinarian or take your pet to the nearest veterinary hospital. The quicker your pet gets treatment, the better the prognosis. If you know what type and how much chocolate your dog has eaten, be sure to tell the veterinarian. For added precaution, bring in the label.
Preplan for a pet emergency - It is always good to have a pet emergency plan in place. Keep both your daytime practice and local vet emergency contact details at hand. If traveling, research local vets on the route to and near your destination ahead of time. Some practice hours may change due to holidays, so make a list of a few options. Lastly, make sure you bring copies of your pet’s medical records and that their identification tags are up to date.