Dogs Trust issues warning as Easter bank holiday weekend approaches

The Easter holidays have finally arrived, which means Spring is here and the nights are getting lighter and shorter. Many celebrate Easter for its religious traditions, while others commemorate the warmer seasons ahead.

For families, especially those with children, its typical to exchange Easter eggs and go on Easter treasure hunts at this time of year. But the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, Dogs Trust, has issued a warning to pet owners as more sweet Easter treats make their way into our homes.

Dogs Trust has reminded people to keep chocolate out of the reach of their four-legged friends, as it could pose a serious risk to their health. Although delicious to humans, chocolate is toxic to dogs and could actually poison them.

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Josie Cocks, Dogs Trust veterinary surgeon, explained the importance of not allowing our furry friends to eat human chocolate. She said: “Chocolate is poisonous to dogs, so owners should ensure they keep it out of reach of their four-legged friends. While some chocolate is more toxic than others, any amount is potentially harmful to your dog.

“If you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, we advise owners to contact their vet immediately. Chocolate poisoning can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive thirst, excitability, drooling, seizures and potentially kidney and heart failure.”

Top tips from Dogs Trust and signs to look out for

Meanwhile, the Dogs Trust charity advise:

  • Never give your pooch any human chocolate as a treat. Ensure that children and visitors understand why and adhere to this rule too.
  • Make sure that bins are dog-proof to prevent them scavenging through rubbish.
  • Never leave any chocolate unsupervised, such as cakes cooling on worktop surfaces.
  • Teach your dog to move away from something when you ask them to ‘leave it’. This valuable life skill will come in handy if your dog reaches for something they shouldn’t have.
  • Keep a close eye on your dog whilst out walking, to avoid them scoffing discarded food that is potentially harmful.
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Although our canine companions can’t celebrate Easter by eating human chocolate, there are plenty of other ways for them to enjoy the holiday weekend. Charlotte Huggins, canine behavior officer at Dogs Trust, offered some suggestions.

She said: “There are plenty of exciting things we can do with our pets over the holiday weekend. Taking them on their own Easter hunt around the house or garden, that includes dog-friendly treats instead of chocolate is a great way of bonding and giving our dogs lots of stimulation.

“You could also use the front of Easter egg boxes to teach your dog to do the snoot challenge or use the boxes to hide their toys or treats in for them to sniff out. If you want to have a go at something a little bit different, get a couple of boxes set a little distance apart and holding your dog’s treats or favorite toy in one hand, slowly start to guide them in a figure of eight around the two boxes . Then reward your dog.

“Dog owners could also build them their own Easter bunny burrow, or ‘Doggy Den’ so your furry friend has a cosy, comfortable place to sleep undisturbed in the house.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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