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Chocolate’s no treat

Posted on 25 March 2013

Author: Anne-Marie George

Have you ever had those eyes?  You know the ones – big, brown, droopy, downcast, basically just horribly sad.  My experience has been, that they seem to appear, at their most potent I might add, when a certain someone deems it to be playtime, walk time, focus on me time and absolutely every time I happen to have anything even remotely edible in my hands, (yes, our family dog is part Labrador).

In only a few short days it’ll be Easter and the food will be plentiful, especially those chocolate bunnies and eggs, and our dogs will be primed to play their ‘what about me cards’.  However, slipping them some chocolate isn’t just a bit naughty because they might get fat, rather it could be potentially lethal.

Whilst the high fat and caffeine content of chocolate, which negatively impacts our health is also relevant for our dogs, the main danger for them comes with the presence of theobromine an alkaloid which is found in the cocoa beans.  Essentially, it affects their nervous system and heart muscle and increases the frequency of urination.  Additionally, our dogs are not able to metabolize it so it simply builds up in their system, gradually increasing the levels of toxicity.  The symptoms of poisoning include: vomiting, diahorrea, restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle twitching, excessive panting and if left untreated seizure and death, so at your first suspicion of poisoning you must contact your veterinarian.[1]

It’s hard to believe that something we find so deliciously irresistable is actually a murderer wrapped in sparkling foil when it comes to our dogs.  But there’s no need to be disheartened as we still have options when it comes to Easter–festivity inclusion.  Our partner the RSCPA has a range of dog–friendly Easter treats, some of which even come in the shape of bunnies and eggs.  Simply visit to peruse the options.

So now when you are nibbling away on your favourite chocolate and your dog gives you the, ‘so this is how you treat your alleged best friend look’, you’ll be able to pull out a delicious and specific treat just for them, ensuring everyone in the family gets their Easter egg.

[1] Why is chocolate Toxic to Dogs?  (2011) RSPCA Australia Knowledgebase, viewed 23 March 2013, last updated 21 April 2011, can be viewed at

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