The holidays are here, but don’t use that as an excuse to give your dog a chocolate treat. According to a new study found in the Vet Record, which is the official journal of the British Veterinary Association, the risk of dogs catching chocolate poisoning peaks during the Christmas season. The same can’t be said for Halloween and Valentine’s Day.
Study author Alan Radford reached out to CBSNews.com to explain the importance of keeping dogs away from chocolate this holiday season. He said that while all dogs should be closely monitored, it’s the younger dogs that are at risk of being harmed the most when it comes to chocolate consumption.
Dogs and chocolate don’t really mix, but do you know why? Chocolate contains theobromine, which falls under the methylxanthines category. It’s a stimulant that can cause your dog to vomit. Increased heart rate, agitation and even seizures can occur as a result of high levels of theobromine in dogs.
While it’s been known that dogs shouldn’t eat chocolate, researchers wanted to see if a holiday season would see an increase in the risk. The study examined records from 229 veterinary practices in the U.K. from 2012 through 2017. After going through 386 cases, it was discovered that the rate of dogs brought to the vet after consuming chocolate was over four times greater around Christmas time.
The dogs found to have consumed chocolate were able to nab candy bars, and boxes containing sweets such as Easter eggs and chocolate cake. Radford warned that these items were easy for dogs to access and suggests dog owners keep them out of sight. The most frequent symptom of the dogs’ visit to the vet was vomiting. Elevated heart rate was the second most frequent symptom, while agitation was third. There were no cases of seizures.