With Easter fast approaching and our stash of Easter eggs getting bigger each day, vet charity PDSA has issued a warning after a chihuahua needed life-saving treatment after tucking into a chocolate Easter egg.
Featured Image Credit: PDSA
Two-year-old chihuahua Bailey became ‘lethargic,’ which was bizarre behavior for the poor puppy. Mother-of-five Tracy from Chatman said she knew instantly something was desperately wrong.
“He became lethargic and just wasn’t himself,” she explains. “Soon after, I found torn-up Easter egg foil with all the chocolate gone, so I knew he needed to be seen urgently.
“I’m cautious with chocolate around our dogs as I know it’s poisonous for them, but my seven-year-old son had hidden an egg under a pillow, thinking Bailey wouldn’t be able to find it.
“I rang PDSA immediately, and they advised me to bring him straight in.”
Bailey was rushed in as an emergency case once he arrived at Gillingham PDSA Pet Hospital, where vets have him treated to induce vomiting to stop any more toxins from being absorbed.
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Because Bailey is a small dog, even small amounts of chocolate can be deadly.
PDSA Senior Vet Soo Ming Teoh said: “We estimated that Bailey had eaten about half an Easter egg, which is hazardous for a dog of his tiny size. Therefore we knew he was at risk of severe heart rhythm disturbances or seizures.
“Thankfully, he was brought in very quickly, and we could give him life-saving treatment before too much of the toxin got into his system.
“He needed close monitoring and intravenous fluid support due to an increased heart rate, likely caused by the amount of chocolate he’d eaten.
“But after a few hours of observation and treatment, he was able to go home with instructions to keep a close eye on him overnight.”
The chemical theobromine, found in chocolate, is toxic for dogs. If your dog shows excessive thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, a tender tummy, and restlessness, it could be a sign that they have ingested chocolate.
These symptoms can then progress to tremors, an abnormal heart rhythm, raised body temperature, and rapid breathing. In small breeds like chihuahuas, the effects of chocolate poisoning can be extremely severe. Even if only a small amount is eaten.
Chocolate poisoning in dogs can cause fits and even death in the most severe cases. The higher the cocoa content in the chocolate, the more dangerous it is for a dog. Dark chocolate, therefore, poses the most significant risk to pets. The egg Bailey ate was made from milk chocolate, posing less chance of death.
Tracy wants to warn other pet owners about the dangers chocolate can pose to pets.
She said: “We’re so grateful to all of the staff at PDSA. It was devastating when it all happened, and I dread to think what would have happened to Bailey without them.
“It took him a little while to fully recover from his ordeal. But thankfully, he is back to his usual self now, and we’re keeping chocolate well out of reach. So we don’t have to go through this scary experience again.”
If you think your dog has ingested chocolate, you should call their local vet immediately. And let them know the type of chocolate, how much you think they have eaten, and when.