No chocolate for pets on Valentine’s Day

Chocolate may be the key to your lover’s heart on Valentine’s Day but it could spell death for your dog.

It contains caffeine and theobromine, two stimulants that affect the central nervous system and the heart muscle in pets.

The amount of chocolate it takes to poison your pet depends on the type  and your pet’s weight. Because each pet reacts differently, it’s best to avoid it entirely.

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning

Restlessness, hyperactivity, muscle twitching, vomiting, excessive panting and increased urination. If your pet isn’t treated immediately, he could go into seizure and possibly even die.

Marene Keyter of Somerset West has first hand experience of how frightening it is to see a dog suffer the after effects of eating a slab. Her nine-year-old Jack Russell, Harry, ate an entire slab of organic dark chocolate. “We usually make sure we hide it where Harry can’t find it because we know how dangerous it can be for dogs but we totally forgot about the slab in my aunt’s handbag.”

Harry sniffed it out and wolfed it down. “He started vomiting and groaning and moaning and his stomach was very sensitive to touch.” Fortunately Marene was able to access emergency veterinary treatment almost immediately.

What to do if  your pet has eaten chocolate

If your pet displays any of the symptoms of chocolate ingestion first make absolutely sure it is chocolate that he’s eaten. Then make him vomit immediately. This is easiest with a 3 percent solution hydrogen peroxide, at a dosage of 1mm per kg of dog (a teaspoon per 5kg). It’s handy to keep hydrogen peroxide, obtainable from pharmacies, in your medicine cabinet at all times. Mix the solution with peanut butter or ice cream so the dog will gulp it down.

If you can’t get him to vomit or his symptoms worsen get him to a vet urgently. It is imperative that he gets the chocolate out of his system as fast as possible.

Fluffy toys make better Valentine’s gifts for your pet

If you want to spoil your fluffy friend for Valentine’s Day,  visit a Vetshop for healthy, yummy treats your pets will love yet won’t harm. They contain no preservatives, no unhealthy fats and are vet-approved so you know they are safe.

Vetshops also stock a range of toys that’ll keep your pet amused for hours, or cute Valentine’s inspired coats for winter.

Cute coats say it like it is

There’s no need to leave your pet feeling unloved on Valentine’s Day but chocolate isn’t the way to his heart.