With the bank holiday Easter weekend fast approaching, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, Dogs Trust, is reminding dog owners to keep chocolate out of reach of our four-legged friends.
As Easter eggs and other tasty cocoa treats find their way into homes, the charity hopes to raise awareness of the continued risk that the consumption of chocolate poses to our canine companions. Dogs Trust is providing top tips and advice for owners on how to have a dog-friendly Easter.
Josie Cocks, Dogs Trust Veterinary Surgeon, explains the importance of not allowing dogs to eat human chocolate:
“Chocolate is poisonous to dogs, so owners should ensure they keep it out of reach of their four-legged friends. Whilst some chocolate is more toxic than others, any amount is potentially harmful to your dog.
“If you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, we advise owners to contact their vet immediately. Chocolate poisoning can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive thirst, excitability, drooling, seizures and potentially kidney and heart failure.”
The charity advises:
- Never give your pooch any human chocolate as a treat. Ensure that children and visitors understand why and adhere to this rule too.
- Make sure that bins are dog-proof to prevent them scavenging through rubbish.
- Never leave any chocolate unsupervised, such as cakes cooling on worktop surfaces.
- Teach your dog to move away from something when you ask them to ‘leave it’. This valuable life skill will come in handy if your dog reaches for something they shouldn’t have.
- Keep a close eye on your dog whilst out walking, to avoid them scoffing discarded food that is potentially harmful.
Although our canine companions won’t be eating human chocolate, there are plenty of other ways for them to enjoy the holiday weekend.
Charlotte Huggins, Canine Behaviour Officer at Dogs Trust, offers some suggestions: “There are plenty of exciting things we can do with our pets over the holiday weekend. Taking them on their own Easter hunt around the house or garden, that includes dog-friendly treats instead of chocolate is a great way of bonding and giving our dogs lots of stimulation.
“You could also use the front of Easter egg boxes to teach your dog to do the snoot challenge or use the boxes to hide their toys or treats in for them to sniff out. If you want to have a go at something a little bit different, get a couple of boxes set a little distance apart and holding your dog’s treats or favourite toy in one hand, slowly start to guide them in a figure of eight around the two boxes . Then reward your dog!
“Dog owners could also build them their own Easter bunny burrow, or ‘Doggy Den’ so your furry friend has a cosy, comfortable place to sleep undisturbed in the house.”
For more information and advice visit https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/advice