Darlington’s Dogs Trust have warned pet owners to keep chocolate treats away from their canine friends this bank holiday Easter weekend.

The charity are hoping to raise awareness of the risk the treat poses to dogs, and said owners must be extra vigilant to keep such items out of reach.

They have warned signs of chocolate poisoning in dogs include vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive thirst, excitability, drooling, and potentially seizures and fatal heart problems.

Chocolate contains a substance called theobromine – something which dogs struggle to metabolise and is toxic to canines.

With the bank holiday Easter weekend fast approaching, Dogs Trust Darlington is reminding dog owners to keep chocolate out of reach of our four-legged friends. 

They have advised anyone who believes their dog has ingested chocolate to contact their vet immediately.

The charity's advice this Easter includes:  

  • Never give your pooch any human chocolate as a treat. Ensure that children and visitors understand why and adhere to this rule too.  
  • If you are hosting an Easter egg hunt, make sure your dog can’t find the chocolate first by keeping them away from the area, or on a lead with constant supervision. 
  • Make sure that bins are dog-proof to prevent them scavenging through rubbish. 
  • Never leave any chocolate unsupervised, such as cakes cooling on worktop surfaces.  
  • Teach your dog to move away from something when you ask them to ‘leave it’. This valuable life skill will come in handy if your dog reaches for something they shouldn’t have. 
  • Keep a close eye on your dog whilst out walking, to avoid them eating discarded food that is potentially harmful.  

Alex Hennessey, manager at Dogs Trust Darlington, said: “Although when it comes to our dogs we need to maintain a chocolate free zone, there are plenty of tasty treats they can enjoy, and join in the fun too. 

“For example, taking them on their own Easter hunt around the house or garden that includes dog-friendly treats instead of chocolate is a great way of bonding and giving our dogs lots of stimulation.   

“If you want to try something different, tasty treats they will happily hunt for include cucumber, carrot, strawberries and broccoli. If you hide those, they will have a much healthier Easter than perhaps many of us will! 

“You could also use Easter egg boxes to hide their toys or treats in for them to sniff out. If you want to have a go at something a little bit different, set a couple of boxes a little distance apart and, holding your dog’s treats or favourite toy in one hand, slowly start to guide them in a figure of eight around the two boxes. Then reward your dog with a safe tasty treat or more games!” 

For more information and advice about keeping your dog happy and healthy, please visit www.dogstrust.org.uk/dog-advice