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Dog-owners get behind ‘Chocs Away’ campaign this Christmas

Irene Dunn and Logan

A Carlisle grandmother who found her little dog had wolfed down five KitKat chunky bars is backing a campaign to keep chocolates out of the reach of pets this Christmas.

Irene Dunn had only left Logan, a bichon-westie cross, alone for a few minutes with a bag of shopping on a kitchen stool that she thought was well out of his reach.

But when she returned she found Logan licking his lips and surrounded by KitKat wrappers.

Irene, 64, knew straight away that she had to act fast as chocolate is toxic for dogs and can lead to serious complications, particularly for small breeds

“He is such a little dog and ate such a lot of chocolate so I know I had to do something quickly. I was panicking and shot out with Logan to the vets before my grandchildren in the living room really knew what was going on.

“I was surprised he could get up that high. When I came back in and saw the wrappers I thought: ‘Oh my God’ and knew it could be dangerous if he didn’t get to the vets quickly,” she added.

Irene, of Morton Park, is speaking out in the hope that it will warn other dog owners to be on their guard in the run up to Christmas when they amount of chocolate in Cumbrian homes will soar as everyone stocks up for the festive season.

Little Logan was saved from the effects of his chocolate binging by Paragon Vets in Dalston where he was given an injection to induce vomiting before any longer lasting damage was done.

Every winter the veterinary practice deals with numerous cases of chocolate poisoning in the run up to Christmas so this year has launched a ‘Chocs Away’ campaign to encourage dog owners to keep festive treats well out of the reach of their pets.

Wendy Haughan and Eric

The initiative is also being backed by Wendy Haughan who discovered her Parson Russell Terrier puppy, Eric, had managed to eat half a chocolate orange.

“My nine-year-old son, Elliot had left it on a window sill and Eric had got up on to the sofa and jumped across to get it – the smell of it wafting across must have been very tempting.

“When we realised what he had done we went online to find out how serious it was if dogs eat chocolate. We realised we needed to contact the vet who said to come straight away. It was scary to see how much chocolate he brought up when he was given an injection,” she said.

Graham Lewis, small animal veterinary surgeon at Paragon, said the Dalston practice would be doing all it can to remind dog owners about the dangers of chocolate which can cause stomach upsets in small amounts and in more serious cases lead to seizures and even heart attacks.

“The effect of eating chocolate can vary depending on the size of dog and type of chocolate, but it’s too dangerous to take any chances. So if your dog eats any chocolate this Christmas contact a vet straight away.

“We’re hoping that our ‘Chocs Away’ message will encourage people to ensure chocolates are locked away in cupboards and fridges this Christmas. It’s amazing the lengths that dogs like Logan and Eric will go to in order to eat some chocolate. Happily, we were able to deal with the situation quickly for them both, but it isn’t always so simple,” he added.

Chocolate contains both theobromine and caffeine, both of which can speed the heart rate and stimulate the nervous system of dogs. Complications will vary depending on the type and amount of chocolate consumed with the weight of your dog being another factor in determining if it could cause a serious medical emergency.

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