Increasing number of dogs poisoned by chocolate

As Easter approaches, Belgium’s poison control centre has warned of the dangers of dogs eating chocolate. The Antigifcentrum received 416 calls last year from dog owners, a 50 per cent increase in four years. “In April, we always see the number of calls peaking,” it said on Thursday

Though dogs like to eat chocolate, the compound theobromine, found in cocoa, is much more harmful to them than it is to humans. A few hours after consumption, it affects the central nervous system and heart, causing symptoms such as drooling, trembling, balance problems and an accelerated heartrate. In very severe cases, it can cause convulsions, a coma or fatal cardiac arrhythmia.

The severity of the reaction depends on the dog’s weight and the quantity and type of chocolate they have eaten. “The darker the chocolate, the more harmful, and even a few dozen grams can cause serious poisoning,” the Antigifcentrum said.

Since the pandemic, more people have become pet owners, which is reflected in the rise in calls to the Antigifcentrum. In 2022, 6,631 owners contacted the centre, up from 4,511 in 2019. Most of these calls were about dogs.

In case of suspected poisoning, owners should call the centre for free on 070 245 245.



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