Chocolate Poisoning in Pets: Easter Safety Tips from PDSA Vet Nurse

We know that with Easter, there comes lots of Easter eggs and other delicious chocolatey treats. Whilst we may all like to indulge in some chocolate goodies, it is in fact toxic for dogs, cats and rabbits.

PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Downing shares the need to knows about chocolate safety this Easter for pet owners.

Nina says: “Chocolate contains a substance called theobromine, which is perfectly safe for humans, but toxic to our four-legged friends. The seriousness of chocolate poisoning depends on how much chocolate your pet has eaten, how much they weigh and the cocoa content of the chocolate – the darker the chocolate the more toxic it is likely to be for your pet.

“However, even a small amount of milk chocolate can cause serious problems for your pet so even if they haven’t eaten much, it’s always best to contact your vet.

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning

“The most severe cases of chocolate poisoning in pets can lead to heart failure, coma and even death. Although this is rare this is why it’s really important to keep chocolate safely away from prying paws.

“Symptoms of chocolate poisoning usually appear within two to four hours but can take up to 12 hours. In severe cases, toxicity can cause:

Fast breathing or panting

Shaking, trembling and tremors

High temperature (fever)


A fast heart rate

High blood pressure

Keeping prying paws safe from chocolate

“With more chocolate in the house during festivities like Easter, it’s really important to make sure it’s kept securely away from pets. It’s best to keep chocolate stored away in secure containers, or in cupboards that your pets are unable to sneak in to.

Concerned about chocolate poisoning?

“If you are concerned your pet may have eaten chocolate, don’t wait for symptoms to appear as chocolate poisoning can be dangerous. Keep the packaging, make a note of how much they have eaten, and call your vet immediately for advice.

“At our Pet Hospitals, a treatment used for chocolate and raisin toxicity sees an average increase in use of about 23% around Easter. At the higher end, it can cost PDSA as much as £300 to treat a dog for chocolate poisoning.”

More information for keeping pets safe and happy during Easter can be found at

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