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Veterinarians remind animal owners: keep pets away from Easter candy

Enter Your Pet To Be The Next Cadbury Bunny
Posted at 2:33 PM, Apr 16, 2022

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Veterinarians from BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital urge pet owners to be aware of the dangers of candy consumption by pets, especially during a holiday weekend dedicated to confectionery consumption.

Annually, Easter has represented a huge increase in candy sales, and 2022 is expected to sell 5-7% more candy than last year, according to the National Confectioners Association.

BluePearl has reported a 321% increase in chocolate toxicity cases on Easter each year, and with the anticipated increase in candy sales for 2022, the hospital fears a higher-than-usual uptick of cases this season.

“Spring represents one of the busiest times of the year for BluePearl, as together our hospitals see tens of thousands of pet emergencies, with many of these emergencies relating to chocolate toxicity or other food related illnesses,” said Dr. James Barr, Chief Medical Officer at BluePearl.

Jellybeans contain ingredients that would be poisonous to dogs, including xylitol and caffeine, and chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine which is toxic to dogs.

“Millions of Jellybeans and chocolate bunnies [are] sold this time each year, so it is important pet owners understand the risks posed to pets when bringing these goodies into their homes. Even a small amount of some of these candies can be harmful or even fatal for our furry companions,” Barr said.

The amount of the toxic chemicals present in candies can vary by maker. Typically, darker, purer varieties of chocolate have the highest levels.

Because dogs like to sniff out and get into unsecured goodies, it is important that owners make sure chocolate treats are securely stored in closed bins or cabinets, and that shopping bags full of Easter candies are off of counters and floors.

When hosting, owners should also be sure to clean up after guests. Check that wrappers and leftover candies are disposed of in tied garbage bags and promptly taken to outside bins.

Due to their size and weight, puppies and small dogs are most at risk from chocolate toxicity.

Chocolate poisoning symptoms typically appear within 12 hours and can last up to three days. Symptoms can include excessive thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness/hyperactivity, tremors, abnormal heart rate, hyperthermia and rapid breathing. In more severe cases, dogs may experience heartbeat irregularities, coma or death.

Symptoms tend to occur between four and 24 hours after ingestion, but treatment may be required immediately.

If a dog is suspected of eating chocolate, an owner should not wait for symptoms to occur. The quicker the treatment, the better the prognosis. Bringing the label of the consumed candy to the vet is a recommended added precaution.