20100915buckeyesMany pet owners are risking their dogs’ health by feeding them chocolate.

Forty-one per cent of owners gave their dogs chocolate, revealed a survey. This is despite the fact that the treat can potentially be deadly for pets. Chocolate contains Theobromine — a naturally occurring compound in cocoa — which is poisonous to dogs as they struggle to break it down safely.

As this week is National Chocolate Week (12-18 October) pet owners are being encouraged to stick to canine treats for their dogs and avoid sharing chocolate with them.

Last year vets reported more than 560 cases of chocolate poisonings in dogs. Symptoms include dehydration, vomiting, and seizures. How a dog reacts to chocolate does depend on the size and health of the dog, and also the quantity and type of chocolate they eat. However, just 100g of dark chocolate could be enough to be fatal to a dog.

Many manufacturers produce a pet-friendly alternative to chocolate and owners are reminded to keep any of the real thing out of reach of inquisitive pets.