Keep deadly chocs away from dogs, owners warned

Dog owners have been warned against the dangers of leaving chocolate within reach of greedy canines over the festive period.

Vets are preparing for a spike in chocolate poisoning around Christmas, as treats become more accessible in homes at this time of year.

Research published in Vet Record reveals advent calendars, Santa Claus figurines and gift box selections are among the confectionery most likely to be devoured by dogs.

One pooch got its paws on six Chocolate Oranges and six Toblerones, while another was treated for poisoning after gulping down a hot chocolate drink.

Chocolate contains theobromine, a stimulant similar to caffeine, which dogs cannot process the same way as humans.

The theobromine builds up toxic levels in their system and can cause vomiting, increased heart rate, agitation and seizures.

Undated handout photo issued by PDSA of vet Terry Ogdin with Narla the French bulldog, who nearly died after eating a box of chocolates, as dog owners are urged to keep festive treats away from their pets. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday December 20, 2017. More than 350 dogs have suffered the symptoms of chocolate exposure in the last five years, with animals more than four times as likely to get ill in the run-up to Christmas, according to research published in Vet Record. See PA

Image: French bulldog Narla nearly died after quaffing some chocolate liqueurs

Researchers at the University of Liverpool found that between 2012 and 2017, 386 cases of chocolate poisoning involving 375 animals were reported at almost 230 veterinary practices across the UK.

Dogs are four times more likely to eat chocolate around Christmas and almost twice as likely at Easter than in non-festive periods.

The PDSA charity says Narla, a French bulldog puppy, nearly died last December after eating a box of chocolate liqueurs from under the Christmas tree.

She received life-saving treatment after being rushed to the vets.

PDSA vet Terry Ogdin said: “We estimated that Narla had eaten around 200g of chocolate, which is an extremely dangerous amount for a dog of her size.

“Thankfully she was brought in very quickly and we were able to treat her before the chocolate had a chance to digest.”

 Undated handout photo issued by PDSA of Suzanna Dixon with her French bulldog puppy, Narla, who nearly died from eating a box of chocolates, as dog owners are urged to keep festive treats away from their pets. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday December 20, 2017. More than 350 dogs have suffered the symptoms of chocolate exposure in the last five years, with animals more than four times as likely to get ill in the run-up to Christmas, according to research published in Vet Record. S

Image: Dogs cannot process chocolate the same way as humans

Bailey, a 13-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier, needed urgent treatment after devouring two large milk chocolate and hazelnut bars last month, but has since made a full recovery.

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Veterinary researcher Dr Peter-John Mantyla Noble, who led the University of Liverpool study, said: “People should keep festive chocolates away from pets.

“If chocolate is consumed, owners should talk to their vet as soon as possible, and ideally be prepared to quantify the amount and type of chocolate consumed.”