Saturday, April 13, 2024

Dogs Trust gives eggs-pert advice on how to have a dog-friendly Easter

WITH the bank holiday Easter weekend fast approaching, Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, is reminding dog owners to keep chocolate out of reach of our four-legged friends. 

As Easter eggs and other tasty cocoa treats find their way into homes, the charity hopes to raise awareness of the risk that the consumption of chocolate poses to our canine companions.

Chocolate is poisonous to dogs as it contains a substance called theobromine, which dogs and some other animals struggle to metabolise. Symptoms of theobromine poisoning include vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive thirst, excitability, drooling, and potentially seizures and fatal heart problems. If you think your dog has eaten chocolate, contact your vet immediately.

The team at Dogs Trust Basildon advises:

  • Never give your pooch any human chocolate as a treat. Ensure that children and visitors understand why and adhere to this rule too.
  • If you are hosting an Easter egg hunt, make sure your dog can’t find the chocolate first by keeping them away from the area, or on a lead with constant supervision.
  • 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 eating discarded food that is potentially harmful.

Victoria Phillips, one of the vets at Dog Trust, says:

“Although when it comes to our dogs we need to maintain a chocolate free zone, there are plenty of tasty treats they can enjoy, and join in the fun too. For example, 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. 

“If you want to try something different, tasty treats they will happily hunt for include cucumber, carrot, strawberries and broccoli. If you hide those, they will have a much healthier Easter than perhaps many of us will!

“You could also use Easter egg 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, set a couple of boxes a little distance apart and, holding your dog’s treats or favourite toy in one hand, slowly start to guide them in a figure of eight around the two boxes. Then reward your dog with a safe tasty treat or more games!”

For more information and advice about keeping your dog happy and healthy, please visit www.dogstrust.org.uk/dog-advice

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