Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh
Missing Easter Eggs May Prove Fatal For Fido
Victor P Taffa
The Easter egg hunt is an embedded tradition amongst many Victorian families, often fun for kids and adults alike. But while a chocolate indulgence one day of the year may leave some nursing a fleeting upset belly, for others in the family it can pose a serious risk to their health and can even cause death.
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh has urged Victorians to think about their dogs and cats this Easter when choosing secret pockets and hidey holes for chocolate eggs.
“Chocolate contains a compound called theobromine which can affect the nervous system, behaviour and heart of a dog or cat.” Mr. Walsh said.
“Easter egg hunts are a common source of chocolate for pets, especially dogs that will eagerly join in the search. If the Easter bunny is likely to drop off eggs in places accessible by pets keep them away from those areas until the eggs have all been found.”
“If you really want your four legged friend to be part of the fun there are carob pet treats available but remember like us they need to watch their waist line and any treats need to be provided in moderation and as part of an appropriate diet.”
Director of Bureau of Animal Welfare and qualified veterinarian Dr. Stephen Tate said symptoms appeared after six hours and may include excessive drinking, swollen stomach, vomiting, increased urination, diarrhoea, trembling and nervousness, muscle tremors or seizures.
“Some symptoms may not appear for up to 24 hours after consumption of the chocolate so if your dog or cat is suspected to have consumed chocolate monitor them for at least that time.” Dr. Tate said.
“The other common source is young children who may want to share their treat with their four-legged friend or leave it in a place easily accessible by pets. Explain to children that chocolate is for humans and needs to be kept away from pets.”
“Even a small amount of chocolate can cause serious problems to pets so no matter how pleading the look from your pet do not give it any chocolate, there are plenty of delicious animal treats available instead.”
If you are concerned your animal has eaten chocolate consult your local veterinarian for advice especially if any symptoms appear or the animal becomes unwell.