It may be two months away but already stores everywhere are stocking up on Easter-themed products. Many of these contain chocolate, raisins and sultanas. While these may be perfectly safe sweet treats for humans, they are particularly toxic to dogs.
Chocolate is hazardous because it contains the bitter alkaloid “theobromine”, a naturally occurring stimulant found in the cocoa bean, which affects the central nervous system and heart and can kill a dog. The danger depends on the dog’s size and the type of chocolate consumed. Darker and more expensive chocolate contains more theobromine. A standard 200g block of dark chocolate contains around 1400mg of theobromine – potentially enough to kill a small dog of around 7-14g, and cause tremors and seizures in large dogs above 20kg. Unlike dogs, humans and cats have the metabolism to cope with theobromine which is why chocolate doesn’t worry us or our feline friends.
In addition to chocolate Easter treats, fruit-filled hot cross buns are a hazard to dogs too due to the fact they contain grapes, raisins and sultanas. These particular products have been known to cause renal failure in dogs so are generally considered a serious risk to their health.
In many cases we see, pet owners have been unaware of the dangers and have fed their dog the odd leftover hot cross bun as a treat. In other cases, hungry animals have helped themselves.
Consumption of these fruits can result in rapid loss of kidney function. As a rule we tell pet owners to keep these foods out of a dog’s reach to avoid any problems altogether.