Dogs Trust the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, says chocolate is toxic to dogs and the temptation to give it as a treat should be avoided.
But there are plenty of ways to use the cardboard boxes that Easter eggs come in to have fun games with your dog instead.
Josie Cocks, veterinary surgeon, said: “Chocolate can be poisonous to dogs, so owners should ensure they keep it out of reach of their four-legged friends. While some chocolate is more toxic than others, any amount is potentially harmful to your dog.
“If you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, we advise owners to contact their vets immediately. Chocolate poisoning can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive thirst, excitability, drooling, seizures and potentially kidney and heart failure.”
The charity advises:
• Never give your pooch any human chocolate as a treat. Ensure children and visitors understand why and adhere to this rule.
• Make sure bins are dog-proof to prevent them scavenging through rubbish.
• Never leave any chocolate unsupervised, such as cakes cooling on worktop surfaces.
• Teach your dog the ‘leave it’ command so you can have confidence they will move away when told.
• Keep a close eye on your dog while out walking, to avoid them scoffing discarded food that is potentially harmful.
Dogs Trust says there are plenty of other ways for dogs to enjoy the bank holiday weekend.
Tamsin Durston, canine behaviour officer, said: “There are plenty of exciting things we can do with our pets over the holiday weekend. Taking them on their own Easter hunt around the house that includes dog-friendly treats instead of chocolate is a great way of bonding and giving our dogs lots of stimulation.
“You could also use the front of Easter egg boxes to teach your dog to do the snoot challenge or use the boxes to hide their toys or treats in them for them to sniff out.
“If you want to have a go at something a little bit different, get a couple of boxes set a little distance apart and holding your dog’s treats or favourite toy in one hand, slowly start to move them in a figure of eight around the two items, swapping the reward into your other hand at the centre point.
“Dog owners could also build them their own Easter bunny burrow, or ‘doggy den’ so your furry friend has a cosy, comfortable place to sleep.”
For more information and advice visit www.dogstrust.org.uk/advice