While our Easter favourites like chocolate eggs, hot-cross buns and our morning hit of coffee are delicious to us humans, they are just a few types of food and drinks that are important to keep away from dogs to ensure they are safe, happy and healthy.
For several days during the Easter period, it is not uncommon to find chocolate around the household, with plenty of parties, family functions, celebrations and of course the age old favourite – The Easter Egg Hunt. Keeping this in mind, it’s important to plan ahead this year to avoid any nasty surprises, including consumption of chocolate by our dogs and other unfavorable food and drinks including caffeine, alcohol and tobacco that can have a potentially deadly affect on your dog.
Although delicious to us humans, chocolate unfortunately contains a chemical compound called theobromide and is toxic to our furry canine friends. Therefore it is important to keep chocolate out of reach and to avoid hiding Easter eggs close to the ground if your dog is on the prowl! Remind your children and guests not to feed the dog any type of chocolate or toxic foods. Better yet? Keep your dog in a separate area while entertaining so there is no chance for a sneaky snack on an Easter egg.
If your dog does manage to eat chocolate, it is important to stay calm and contact a Vet immediately. There is a window of approximately 15 to 60 minutes after ingestion that a Veterinarian may be able to successfully flush the chocolate from the dog’s stomach.
If you’re worried that your dog has eaten chocolate, the key symptoms to look out for include:
- Hyperactivity (restlessness, muscle twitching)
- Inappetence and excessive thirst
Even if there are no signs and symptoms, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your Vet for a thorough examination as this could save your dog’s life.
Other toxic food to keep away from dogs include:
Caffeine, macadamia nuts, grapes, onion and garlic:
While chocolate is at the top of the list, caffeine is also highly toxic for dogs and can cause damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys and central nervous system and produce hyperactivity, vomiting and restlessness, much similar to the effects of eating chocolate.
Common snack foods like grapes and macadamia nuts should also be kept away from dogs, including dried grapes like raisins and sultanas of which can produce vomiting, diarrhea, decreased urine production, weakness and loss of appetite typically about 24 hours of ingestion.
Common cooking ingredients like garlic and onions in all forms including raw, cooked and powder variations can be toxic to our dogs if eaten in significant amounts, with garlic and onions creating hemolytic anemia, which destroys the red blood cells in the body. Symptoms include an increased heartbeat, pale gums, vomiting, diarrhea and blood in the urine requiring urgent treatment.
Alcohol & Tobacco:
Another one of those festive favourites from the Easter period, alcohol is extremely toxic to dogs, with drunkenness causing serious cardiac issues. Symptoms of intoxication include depression, staggering, excitement and or decreased reflexes. Ingestion of cigarette butts from the ground or ashtrays can also cause adverse digestive and nervous system consequences.
Other foods and plants to keep away from dogs include:
- Avocado, apple seeds, plum stones, cherry pips, peach and apricot seeds
- Potato peelings, green potatoes, rhubarb leaves
- Wandering Jew plant
- Bulbs (including daffodils, onions and snowdrops)
- Tomato plant leaves
Easter is a great time to relax with friends and family and enjoy good food and drinks, just keep an eye out for your pets during the upcoming festive season. If you suspect that your dog has ingested any of the above, please contact your Vet immediately.