Nearly 2,000 dogs estimated to suffer from chocolate poisoning this Christmas

2016 saw a staggering 138% increase of chocolate poisoning cases since 2014. Over a quarter of chocolate poisoning cases occur in December, at the height of the festive season.

28th November 2016

At Animal Friends, we know that pets are part of the family, so it can seem like a good idea to treat them at Christmas. But our latest research has shown that 2,000 dogs are expected to be treated for chocolate poisoning over the festive period this year!

Our data shows that throughout 2016, there have been an estimated 6,609 cases of chocolate poisoning in dogs, which is a staggering 138% increase since 2014, and a 25% increase on last year.

Over a quarter (27%) of chocolate poisoning cases occur in December, at the height of the festive season, followed by the month that coincides with Easter.

The effects of chocolate poisoning are very serious and can be extremely dangerous to your dog, and this type of poisoning can cost pet owners an average of £297 in vet bills.

If your dog has consumed a small amount of chocolate, you may find they experience vomiting or diarrhoea, either immediately or over the few hours after ingestion. Vomiting is a good sign, as it means your dog is getting rid of the poison, however you should still take your pet to your local vet.

If your dog has eaten an excessive amount of chocolate, they may experience a feeling of restlessness and a sense of increased energy. This is followed by tremors, weakness and balance problems.

It’s very important that as soon as your dog has eaten the chocolate, you get them examined by a vet. Symptoms such as seizures, muscle spasms and even comas can occur because of chocolate poisoning, so take every precaution you can.

Chocolate isn’t the only danger to your dog this Christmas. Here is a list of the top things than can harm your pet over the festive period:

  • Bones– Even when cooked, animal bones can become brittle and splinter, causing severe internal issues for your pets. Turkey bones are especially dangerous as they’re hollow, meaning that they splinter whether cooked or raw.
  • Christmas Cake and Mince Pies– While humans love them, Christmas pies and cakes contain dried fruit such as raisins, which are toxic to dogs and can make them seriously ill. Not to mention the fact that they are usually extremely high in fat and possibly alcohol, which is a no-no for your furry friend.
  • Nuts– Nuts have become a Christmas favourite, but not only could these be a choking hazard for your dog, but some nuts can cause them to suffer from vomiting and diarrhoea. Smaller dogs are particularly susceptible to stomach upset or obstruction when consuming nuts such as walnuts or pecans.
  • Christmas trees– You should ensure that your tree is secured properly, as they are commonly knocked over by dogs and climbed by cats, which can potentially result in injury.
  • Pine needles– Ideally these should be cleaned up as soon as they drop because they can become embedded in paws and if left untreated may cause an infection.
  • Seasonal plants– Decorative Christmas plants like Mistletoe and Holly will give your dog extreme intestinal problems and abdominal pain if eaten, so should be kept well away from pets.
  • Tinsel and ribbons– While they look great draped over our picture frames, if decorations such as tinsel are eaten by our pets, they will not only cause stomach problems but your pet could choke on them, so keep them out of reach.

Remember to keep yourself protected against any unpexpected costs this Christmas, by taking out one of our dog insurance policies.

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Animal Friends Insurance is a multi-award winning FCA-regulated pet insurer, founded in 1998 to provide industry-leading pet insurance and first-class animal care to create a better life for every animal.
As one of the UK’s largest pet insurance providers, Animal Friends works with vets, veterinary professionals, and partners pioneering the latest veterinary technology & healthcare advancements to achieve our vision.
Our policyholders have helped donate over £8.5 million to more than 800 animal charities worldwide and by educating and inspiring others to act on current events and responsible pet ownership, Animal Friends is driving positive change for animal welfare and conservation.