A leading Ledbury vet practice is reminding dog owners about the potentially fatal consequences of allowing pets to get their paws on chocolate this Easter. 

Although traditional Easter get-togethers may not be in full force due to social distancing restrictions, the dangers of chocolate to dogs still remain and Leadon Vale Veterinary Centre is urging families to remain vigilant. 

Clinical director Rachel Mowbray has spoken out to highlight just how toxic chocolate can be for pets, urging all dog owners to be extra careful where they leave Easter eggs and other treats. 

Rachel said: “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. 

“Although there won’t be Easter parties and traditional gatherings this year, people will still be buying chocolate Easter eggs and treats as part of their essential shopping trips. 

“It’s easy to forget that all chocolate and cocoa products should be kept well out of reach of pets, as even a couple of small pieces can be enough to cause a problem. 

“Dark chocolate is the most dangerous as it has a higher cocoa content but milk chocolate is also a threat. 

“The first two hours after eating chocolate can be vital for a pet’s recovery, so it’s essential to call a vet immediately, as emergency cases are still being treated. The sooner a dog is seen and treated the better. 

“Information is often key and knowing the type of chocolate, the amount eaten and even keeping the chocolate wrapper can all help.” 

If a dog is suffering from chocolate poisoning, they can display symptoms including hyperactivity, vomiting, diarrhoea and fits. 

While it is widely known that high levels of cocoa can make canines ill, Rachel is also urging dog owners to be aware of the potentially fatal damage xylitol, a sugar replacement, can cause. 

She said: “With a focus on both mental and physical health, many people are seeking alternatives to sugar for their recipes and are increasingly using xylitol. 

“But what can be perfectly healthy and good for us humans can be extremely dangerous to animals, so I would urge dog owners to keep anything containing xylitol also safely locked away.”

For more information visit www.ledburyvets.co.uk or search for Leadon Vale Veterinary Centre on social media.