Derry dog lover Stephanie Berkeley, whose Basset Hound ‘Star,’ almost died after devouring five chocolate eggs and six crème eggs one Easter, is urging people to make sure dangerous treats are kept out of pets’ maws during the forthcoming holiday.
Stephanie, who is a Farm Safety Foundation specialist for NFU Mutual, now based in Warwickshire but who grow up in the North West and is a Thornhill old girl, is supporting the company’s warning for dog owners to keep Easter goodies out of reach.
She described ‘Star’s’ near ‘death by chocolate’ incident and urged people to keep chocolate, currants, raisins, sultanas, flowers, bones and booze out of reach of dogs during the St. Patrick’s Day and Easter holidays.
Recalling ‘Star’s’ brush with death, Ms. Berkeley said: “The children and I heard rustling coming from upstairs only to discover an array of cardboard and foil scattered across the landing.
“I had hidden the family’s Easter eggs in the spare bedroom but somehow ‘Star’ had got in. She looked so unwell and was drooling chocolate from the sides of her mouth.
“My immediate reaction was to ring the vet as I’d read that chocolate was poisonous to dogs and he asked me how much chocolate had been swallowed? From the debris, we worked out ‘Star’ had eaten five large chocolate eggs and six smaller crème eggs and we were asked to take her in immediately.
“As we bundled the dog in the car, the children got increasingly distraught as we all realised the seriousness of the situation. The vets stayed open and asked us to leave ‘Star’ overnight so they could pump her stomach and keep an eye on her. We reluctantly headed home and spent a sleepless night worrying about her. Fortunately she was well enough to be collected in the morning and although she was very weak and had a hoarse throat from vomiting, she recovered within a few days.
“Had we not found ‘Star’ when we did, she would have died. I’m just glad we got her to the vet so quickly and that we were insured. We are still over cautious about leaving chocolate out, particularly at Easter and Christmas. What happened to ‘Star’ could happen to any dog, whatever their nature. ‘Star’ isn’t a scavenging dog; she’s never fed scraps and she doesn’t beg for food, but she still ate an astonishing amount of chocolate and it put her life at risk.””
Rebecca Davidson, Insurance Specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “It is well known that chocolate is poisonous to dogs and can prove fatal but pet owners may be unaware that raisins, currants and sultanas, found in hot cross buns or Simnel cake, are also toxic. Add to the ingredients or cake decorations, and you are looking at a recipe for disaster.”