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PDSA says chocs away this Easter

It's Easter time and many pet owners will be tempted to share their chocolate eggs with their pet friends but beware! Chocolate is not only fattening it could be fatal.

Dog owners know that sweet treats not only give pets dental problems they will also make them pile on the pounds! Overfeeding a dog all the sweets he begs for could lead to major health problems. Podgy pets are more at risk of developing arthritis, respiratory and heart complaints that could possibly affect them for life.

But chocolate also carries a more sinister ingredient - it contains a chemical called 'theobromine' that can be harmful to pets. Dogs are most at risk because they often help themselves to anything that's left in paw's reach. And the main danger is eating a lot of chocolate in one go. For instance, just 100g of plain chocolate contains enough theobromine to kill a small dog such as a Chihuahua!

White chocolate contains the least concentration of theobromine. Milk and dark chocolate much more: cocoa powder and cocoa shell garden mulches have the highest concentration and are therefore the most poisonous to pets.

If you feel a bit mean to your dog as you tuck into your Easter eggs don't forget that 'doggy chocs' are specially produced for our canine friends and are a safer alternative to 'human' chocolate. But don't overdo the treats. You have to think of your dog's waistline and his dental health all year round!

Other pets can suffer from a chocolate overdose too. Rats and mice would be chocoholics if you let them! Rats are particularly fond of chocolate treats but they are also prone to obesity and bad teeth. Hamsters will horde food in their cheek pouches but saving sweet treats is likely to give them problems if their pouches become impacted with sticky foods.

If your pet is on a supervised diet this Easter try to discourage begging even if that means that he has to stay in another room while you are eating. Keep the tit-bits to a minimum to help keep your pet happy and healthy.