How to stop Easter egg hunts ending in a trip to the vet

Northampton vet issues warning ahead of traditional spike in poorly dogs at Easter

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 8:05 am
Pet pooch, Hammerton, a five year old Cavalier King Charles, will be safely shut away in his crate during the family Easter egg hunt

A Northampton-based veterinary practice, which often sees a spike a poorly dogs at Easter, is warning dog owners to be cautious when planning Easter egg hunts.

Vet, Carla Carvalho, from White Cross Vets in Northampton, said: “Due to lockdown, we understand that more people will be creating ‘egg-citing’ Easter egg trails in their gardens and homes, but it’s essential that the family dog does not take part, as chocolate can make them very poorly.”

Over the past 12 months it is thought that the UK dog population has increased by at least 10 per cent under lockdown, now totalling well over 11 million. Carla added: “It’s very likely that this is the first Easter for many new dog owners, and they might not be aware of the dangers chocolate poses. That’s why it’s essential to make sure that any Easter egg trails inside the house, or in the garden are pooch-proof!”

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Hammerton and Dunsforth, two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, who won’t be taking part in their family Easter egg hunt, but will be safely shut away in their crate

During an Easter egg hunt, White Cross Vets recommends that dogs are settled away safely in a room with the door closed, or ideally in their crate if they have one. Carla added: “It’s so easy in the excitement of Easter weekend for the family dog to find and eat chocolate.

“We have treated cases where despite being shut away, dogs have escaped and eaten chocolate even when it’s been on kitchen worktops or in a shopping bag, or in one case, from inside a closed handbag! Putting a baby gate, a chair or even a no entry notice on the door on the day of the Easter egg hunt, is a great way of reminding people that their pet pooch needs to be kept out of harm’s way. Alternatively, instead of hiding chocolate eggs, hide paper cut outs instead, just in case any chocolate gets missed in the hunt! If possible, store all chocolate away in raised cupboards.”

White Cross Vets regularly treats dogs who have eaten chocolate. The veterinary practice has published a 5-step plan for anyone who thinks their dog has accidentally swallowed any chocolate:

* Contact details - check you have the right vets’ contact details stored in your phone and double check the opening hours for your local vets. White Cross Vets opens its practice on Good Friday because of the high number of emergency cases around Easter.

* Don’t panic - chocolate is poisonous to dogs, but it depends on how much and what type they have eaten – the darker the chocolate the more at risk your dog is. The more theobromine, which is a stimulant poisonous to dogs, there is in chocolate, the more dangerous it becomes.

* Do not try and make your dog sick yourself, as this can be extremely dangerous.

* Call your vet – explain the situation and talk through the age and general health of your dog, as it will affect how they deal with the toxicity of the chocolate. Inform them know what type and amount of chocolate your dog has eaten if it’s obvious.

* Get your dog to the vet – if your dog is treated within half an hour to an hour or ingesting the chocolate, they will usually make a quick recovery. By seeking professional help right away it’s possible to avoid some of the irreversible damage that might otherwise occur.

Carla added: “Despite the very best intentions, sometimes accidents happen, especially as some dogs can be seriously determined, when it comes to sniffing out chocolate! However, it is important to remember that in the majority of cases, serious complications can be avoided, if professional help is sought quickly.”