Poor Pups: Chocolate Poisonings in Dogs Spike During Christmastime

Dec 22, 2017, 00:54
Poor Pups: Chocolate Poisonings in Dogs Spike During Christmastime

20, 2017 Holidays, and all of the chocolate goodies that come with the celebrations, can be particularly risky for dogs, researchers warn.

Chocolate contains theobromine, a stimulant similar to caffeine, which can cause vomiting, increased heart rate, agitation and seizures in dogs.

While chocolate has always been recognized as a health risk for dogs, the researchers wanted to investigate if there were any seasonal patterns to exposure.

The results showed dogs were more than four times as likely to be brought to the vet for eating chocolate at Christmas time than non-holiday dates.

For the study, they analyzed records from 229 veterinary practices in the United Kingdom between 2012 and 2017 for consultations relating to dogs who consumed chocolate around Christmas, Easter, Valentine's Day and Halloween. Valentine's Day and Halloween were not risky times for theobromine dog poisonings, perhaps because the study was not done in the U.S.

They examined the 2012-2017 records of 229 animal hospitals or clinics in the United Kingdom and identified 386 cases of chocolate exposure involving 375 dogs. They're twice as likely during Easter.

Advent calendars, Christmas tree decorations, Santa Claus figurines and gift box selections were among the confectionery items devoured by dogs on numerous occasions.

Vomiting occurred in 17 percent of cases, a high heart rate in 8 percent, and neurological signs such as agitation and restlessness in 3 percent. Luckily for the poor poochies, none of these symptoms were considered life-threatening.

Dog owners are being warned to resist giving their best friend Christmas chocolate treats after researchers found a peak in poisoning over the festive period.

The condition was more common in dogs under four years old, but no particular breeds were associated with increased risk.

Pet owners are told to call the vet immediately if their dog ingests chocolate - some affects won't appear until a few hours after consumption and catching it early helps the dog recover faster.

FYI, theobromine is deadly for humans too - though to cop a fatal dose you'd have to eat about 30 blocks of milk chocolate or nine blocks of dark chocolate in one hit.

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