Keep the Easter basket away from your dogs. We know they beg for handouts, but dogs and chocolate are a toxic combination.

Yes, we love our pets, but don't kill them with kindness this weekend. The theobromine and caffeine in the chocolate are poisonous to dog's, and they are highly sensitive to it. If an average size dog consumes a small amount of chocolate, they may experience an upset stomach with vomiting or diarrhea, but if they ate a significant amount, or if they ingested dark chocolate, the theobromine can produce muscle tremors, seizures, an irregular heartbeat, internal bleeding or a heart attack.

The onset of theobromine poisoning is usually marked by severe hyperactivity says hillspet.com. Older dogs and dogs with heart conditions are more at risk of sudden death from chocolate poisoning.

Pets.webmd says if you think your dog ate chocolate, don't wait for warning signs, that can take 6 to 12 hours to show up. Symptoms include:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Diarrhea
  • Too much energy
  • Pacing
  • Panting
  • Shaking
  • Seizures

The stimulants in chocolate stay in the dog's body for a long time. In severe cases, symptoms can last up to 72 hours. Early treatment will help your dog recover quicker and lower your costs.

What to Do If Your Dog Ate Chocolate:

If you believe your dog ate chocolate, call your veterinarian immediately or call the Pet Poison Helpline (855-213-6680) for advice. Based on your dog’s size and the amount and type of chocolate consumed, your veterinarian may recommend that you monitor him for the clinical signs listed above and call back if his condition worsens.

In other cases, the veterinarian may prefer you bring the dog into the clinic. If your pet consumed the chocolate less than two hours ago, your veterinarian may induce vomiting and give him several doses of activated charcoal, which works to move the toxins out of the body without being absorbed into the bloodstream. For more severe cases, veterinary intervention may be needed to provide supplemental treatment, such as medications or IV fluids, to resolve the effects of the poisoning. Dogs suffering from seizures may need to be monitored at the clinic overnight. [AKC.org]

Please be vigilant about keeping the Easter baskets away from your pets!

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