A pet dog wolfed down an entire tin of hot chocolate when her owner left her alone for half an hour.
Brann, a nine-year-old boxer, was rushed to the vet by her worried owner, Gilly Duncalfe, as chocolate can be lethal for dogs.
Fortunately Gilly’s prompt actions meant that Brann suffered no lasting ill effects.
But the drama, which happened last Christmas, highlighted the increased risk to pets of ingesting something harmful over the festive period.
Gilly said: “Last year, when I left Brann for just 30 minutes to pop to the shop, she managed to get upstairs, into my bedroom and into my handbag.
“I’d received the 77% cocoa hot chocolate as a Christmas gift and she had somehow unzipped my bag, broken the seal of the hot chocolate and eaten it.
“I took her straight into the practice and gave her an injection to make her sick and popped her on fluids.
“She also had the charcoal solution, but luckily, as I found her and treated her so quickly there was no permanent damage done.”
Vet Sarah Cumming said: “Around Christmas time all sorts of extra treats come into the home – from tasty Christmas cakes to mince pies, chocolate, nuts, extra alcohol and joints of meat – so it’s really important to make sure these are kept out of reach of curious pets.
“We have treated dogs who have scaled baby gates, opened doors, ripped open foody gifts from under the tree or jumped up on kitchen surfaces to get hold of festive food.”
Sarah added: “Many of the ingredients are poisonous and chocolate, in particular, can be lethal for dogs.
“The severity of the impact of eating chocolate depends on how much is consumed and what type they have eaten – the darker the chocolate the more at risk the dog is due to the levels of theobromine, but any type of chocolate has the potential to be toxic.
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“Dogs that eat large volumes will be seriously ill, so it’s essential they are seen quickly by a vet. If they are treated within half an hour to an hour, they will usually make a quick recovery, but owners should always seek professional help rather than trying to make their dog sick themselves, as this can be extremely dangerous.”
In addition to the perils of certain festive foods, pet owners must also be cautious about Christmas trees, pine needles, seasonal plants, tinsel and ribbons.
More information about White Cross Vets can be found here.