AS EASTER approaches we can all feel the excitement building for the big weekend, because we know there will soon be a day we can eat as much chocolate as we desire and no one will bat an eyelid.
Among the enjoyment of hot cross buns for breakfast and Easter egg hunts with the family, we can often forget one very important thing - just how toxic chocolate can be to dogs.
Theobromine is a chemical in chocolate that can only be broken down very slowly in dog's systems. This is why they get so sick from eating chocolate because the toxic build up takes a long time to leave their bodies.
Take simple precautions and don't leave chocolate at a level at which your dog can access it on their own
And that is often too late.It can result in extreme cases of vomiting and diarrhea and if eaten in large quantities, it can affect the nervous system.
In short, it's paramount to poisoning your pet.
It's very easy to be relaxed over the Easter weekend and busy with family and friends. That is when we are least likely to see our pets and what they are up to.
It's also easy to placate ourselves with by saying "oh - they have got into the chocolate before and were absolutely fine."
That may well have been a lucky case for you and taking the risk is not worth it.
Chocolate is also highly toxic and even lethal for cats. However cats are far less likely to crash the Easter egg hunt.
Take simple precautions and don't leave chocolate in reach of your dog.
Some breeds are especially prone to hunting down anything edible and as a dog-owner you will know exactly how devious your pet pooch can be.
When setting up your egg hunt either keep your dog inside or outside, or have him tethered for the duration.
Don't leave small children unattended with your pets and their Easter morning goodies and always explain to older children the importance of not sneaking a chocolate treat to their pets - no matter how cute the puppy eyes may be.
Teach the family that these measures are for the good of their beloved pet so they can spend many more Easters with you.