The data, collated and analysed by Agria Pet Insurance, the Kennel Club’s insurance partner, reveals that April, on average, sees a 54 per cent increase in dogs being poisoned by chocolate compared to other times of the year, making it the second highest month for claims after the Christmas period.
Bill Lambert, dog health expert at the Kennel Club, explained: “Many families and friends may be celebrating Easter in larger groups this year, no longer needing to restrict numbers, and with more people owning dogs than ever before, we want to remind all owners to keep an extra careful eye on their four-legged friends.
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“Our furry companions can sniff out even the best hidden chocolate eggs and non-canine friendly confectionaries, as these worrying new statistics show.
“As a society of dog lovers, we naturally want to include our pets as part of the festivities. However, to make sure Easter remains happy and safe for everyone, we want to raise awareness among dog
owners, new and experienced, of certain elements that pose a particular danger to dogs at this time of year.”
The Kennel Club is reminding owners, and those visiting homes with canine companions, to ensure Easter remains a ‘pawsitive’ experience for all our dogs by following these tips.
Chocolate and traditional treat dangers
Sadly, chocolate brings a not-so-sweet reality of sickness for our dogs. Every Easter, thousands of dogs are rushed for emergency veterinary treatment due to consuming highly toxic chocolate. A dog’s acute sense of smell means our furry friends can all too easily sniff out, and unintentionally get their paws on, poisonous food.
Owners can help by keeping track of any chocolates brought into the house and keeping them safely out of reach, up high and behind the closed doors of cupboards.
For those keeping up traditions of a festive chocolate egg hunt, it is important that your dog is kept away during this activity and ensure all the hidden chocolates are found before welcoming them back to the area.
Also keep an eye on other traditional treats, like hot cross buns and Simnel cake, which commonly contain grapes, raisins, currants and sultanas, all of which are highly toxic to dogs.
As we continue to meet in larger groups, many puppies and older dogs may have got used to the solitude of lockdown and may become stressed when encountering new people, especially young, energetic children. Celebrations often bring new activities and more noises and smells for your four-legged friend, which might become overwhelming.
To avoid any seasonal stress and help your dog relax, continue their usual walking and eating routine.
If you are welcoming more people into your home, make sure your pup still has their usual personal space so they can retreat to their bed for some chill time as and when they need it.
Spring has sprung
Spring sees new plants in bloom, both out in the garden, or on walks, and it is important for owners to spot the springtime plants that can pose a particular danger to dogs.
Several common flowers, including daffodils, tulips and spring crocuses can be poisonous to dogs, so be alert if your dog is in the garden, especially if you planted these bulbs earlier in the year.
If you suspect your dog has eaten any poisonous plants, contact your vet straight away and do not attempt to make your dog sick.
Meanwhile, snails, toads, ticks and adders are more common in spring and are potential health hazards to dogs as they can cause infections, bites or stings.
While allowing your dog to go and explore the world, be vigilant in checking their fur for ticks, particularly after walks or playing in the garden grass.
To help identify and remove any ticks or if your dog appears to have been bitten by an unknown animal, contact your vet for further advice.
Bright spring days and bank holidays off work can offer the opportunity for longer dog walks and the exploration of new areas.
It is important before embarking on a new route to understand how to be responsible for you and your dog when walking in the countryside.
Easter and spring bring an abundance of wildlife and livestock to the countryside, especially during lambing season. Whenever you are in proximity of livestock you must have your dog on a lead, under control and keep your dog from approaching or chasing any livestock or wildlife.
Ensure to check the latest local restrictions on dog walking areas and be aware that sometimes dogs are banned from areas such as beaches or fields during certain months, for everyone’s safety.
The Kennel Club has more advice on keeping your dog safe during spring, including health advice, training tips and guidance on your pup’s continuing exploration of the big wide world – just visit www.thekennelclub.org.uk/pawbypaw.
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