Dr Katria Lovell warns on feeding Easter treats to pets

THORNLANDS vet Dr Katria Lovell is urging people to keep their dogs away from hot-cross buns and chocolate over Easter.

GOOD DOGGY: Dogs, like Snoop (pictured), are vulnerable to chocolate ingestion this time of year.

GOOD DOGGY: Dogs, like Snoop (pictured), are vulnerable to chocolate ingestion this time of year.

Dr Lovell, of Redlands Veterinary Clinic, said the Easter treats - as well as fatty cuts of meat - posed a health risk to dogs.

"Obviously Easter weekend is the big risk, especially with Easter egg hunts and people leaving out eggs for their kids," she said.

"We have probably seen 10 to 15 cases in the last week or so just because everyone starts buying their Easter supplies early and putting them in cupboards.

"Dogs sniff them out and find them when people aren't home."

Dr Lovell said an average of 20 dogs were brought to the clinic every Easter for treatment after eating chocolate.

"If you know your dog has eaten chocolate, it is so crucial to get them to vet ASAP," Dr Lovell said.

"The quicker we make them vomit, the less chance there is of any systemic issues.

MAN'S BEST FRIEND: Dogs like Bustie (pictured) need to be protected from chocolate eggs and hot-cross buns this Easter.

MAN'S BEST FRIEND: Dogs like Bustie (pictured) need to be protected from chocolate eggs and hot-cross buns this Easter.

" ... It is really important that even if they look OK they are brought in, (because) the effects can be seen several days later."

Dr Lovell said dogs would rarely die after eating chocolate but ingestion could cause other health problems.

"If we know that they have eaten chocolate and make them vomit within an hour of them eating, the prognoses is excellent and they often go home the next day," she said.

"If they have eaten it and ingest it, the complications can be fairly long acting and significant, because it can have secondary affects on their pancreas, bladder and liver.

"It can also cause arrhythmias and seizures, pretty nasty stuff."

Dr Lovell said there were several precautions owners could take to keep their dog safe, including making sure they were not fed fatty cuts of meat like ham and lamb.

"Make sure that you are not feeding them things that they are not normally exposed to," she said.

Dogs are unable to eat chocolate due to an ingredient called theobromine.

The sultanas and raisins in hot-cross buns are also toxic for dogs.

"People often don't realise that and feed them to their dogs," Dr Lovell said.

"Unfortunately with sultanas and grapes, we don't know what the toxic dose is so you have to treat the ingestion of one as very, very serious."

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