Vets warn of rise in chocolate-related emergency calls over Easter weekend

Basil the Bassett Hound is lucky to be alive after scoffing a kilo of mini eggs that arrived by post.

The five-year-old dog must have thought it was his birthday when he chanced upon the parcel left by a postman and soon ripped it open and made quick work of eating all the chocolates that been ordered online for Easter.

When Basil’s owners came home they found he had been violently sick all over the house, but their problems were not to end there. The toxins in chocolate that are poisonous to dogs were still in Basil’s system and he had to be rushed to our clinic in Witham in the night as his condition worsened.

Now owner Aimee Manley is hoping other dog owners will learn from their ordeal in time for Easter when many households will be flooded with chocolate.

Our vets see a massive rise in chocolate poisoning cases during the Easter weekend – with calls to our clinics going up by more than 50%.

Image of Basil the Bassett Hound for Vets Now article on dog eating Easter eggs
Basil (right) with his brother Chester

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Aimee said: “When my husband Andy got home he saw that Basil had been sick everywhere, but we made the mistake of thinking that once he had thrown up it was a case of keeping an eye on him while he recovered.

“Then after 10.30pm Basil’s tummy was hard and he was panting so we put him in the car and had a 50-minute drive to Vets Now in Witham. His heart rate was elevated and despite all the water he’d had Basil was badly dehydrated – we thought he was going to die.”

Aimee, who lives in Harlow, explained that Basil’s ordeal had started because of a simple mix-up with their new postman.

“Our postman had always left our parcels outside our gate, but he retired and the new chap had put this parcel inside the gate. Basil – and his twin Chester – have the run of the garden during the day because we have a dog door and he found the box, ripped it open and ate the eggs.

“Chester is not really bothered by food and rather idle so he was happy to leave ripping the box apart to Basil. Thankfully Basil is a big chunky Bassett because if he had been a small dog he would not have survived eating that much chocolate.

“I have got a big sign on the gate now about where to leave parcels and I will never order anything edible online again,” she said.

Image of dogs and owner for Vets Now article on dog eating chocolate mini eggs
Owner Andy with Basil and Chester

Basil was treated by vet Chloe Delimal at the Vets Now clinic in Whitham which provides emergency care for pets in the area.

Chloe was delighted to see Basil make a speedy recovery, but endorsed Aimee’s warning about the dangers of chocolate at Easter time.

“Chocolate is toxic because it contains a chemical called theobromine which can act as a heart stimulant which explains the distress Basil was under.

“Aimee is right to emphasise that if your dog eats chocolate it is not simply a case of seeing if they vomit it up. The side effects can be very serious so it is best to get advice from a vet as quickly as possible,” she said.

The Vets Now clinic in Witham – where Basil received treatment – was recently rated as “outstanding” in the delivery of emergency and critical care by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

It’s one of a nationwide network of Vets Now clinics and pet emergency hospitals that are open through the night, seven-days-a-week, and day and night on weekends and bank holidays, to treat any pet emergencies that may occur.

All of Vets Now’s out-of-hours clinics and 24/7 hospitals have a vet and vet nurse on site at all times.