A sweet-toothed four-month-old Doberman puppy called Ghost needed life-saving treatment after polishing off an entire advent calendar.
Luckily for Ghost, PDSA vets were on hand to provide emergency treatment which saved his life, meaning he was back home in time to enjoy festive celebrations with his family. The veterinary charity is highlighting Ghost’s story to warn all pet owners to be extra vigilant this Christmas as many festive treats, including chocolate, can be toxic to our pets.
Owner, Erin, from Croydon, said: “Ghost was at home with my sister, when she found her advent calendar had been ripped to pieces and all twenty four chocolates were gone! The foil had been torn up too, so we were worried he’d also eaten that.
“I called PDSA straight away as I knew chocolate can be really poisonous to dogs, and I was told to bring him straight in.”
Erin rushed Ghost to the charity’s Croydon PDSA Pet Hospital where he was given treatment to safely make him sick and then medication to prevent his body from absorbing any remaining potentially deadly toxins.
PDSA Vet Hermione Hillen, said: “It was a good job that Ghost’s owner contacted PDSA and that he was brought into the hospital straight away. Chocolate toxicity can be life-threatening, but sadly, not all pet owners are aware of the risk. . The amount of chocolate he’d eaten was dangerous for a puppy and it could have been fatal if he’d been left untreated.
“Ghost was incredibly lucky he didn’t suffer further damage, or that the foil he’d eaten hadn’t caused a blockage, and thankfully he was able to go home in time for Christmas.”
The charity is encouraging other pet owners to keep chocolate well out of reach of their pet’s curious paws this Christmas. PDSA is also appealing for donations this Christmas, so that it can continue to provide its life-saving care to many more much-loved pets like Ghost – pet owners can support the charity at www.pdsa.org.uk/PDSA-chance .
PDSA Vet Hermione adds: “Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine, which is toxic to most animals including dogs and cats. Signs a pet may have eaten chocolate can include vomiting, diarrhoea, drinking excessively, shaking and restlessness. At higher doses, signs can even progress to an abnormal heart rhythm, raised body temperature, rapid breathing and seizures.
“Without rapid treatment, severe chocolate poisoning can also cause kidney failure and at in severe cases, death. It’s best to contact the vet as soon as you notice your pet’s eaten something they shouldn’t rather than waiting for symptoms, as by the time you see these signs the toxin has already passed into the body.
“It’s important that owners make sure chocolate and other toxic Christmas foods are safe from curious paws. With the festive season here, many of us will have lots of treats, sweets and chocolates in the house. But while Christmas is a time for indulgence, remember that some foods that are safe for us can be harmful to our pets. Foods including mince pies, chocolate, onions, raisins, grapes, macadamia nuts, sage-and-onion stuffing and Christmas cake can all be harmful.
“Instead of giving pets extra food, treat them with some quality time by taking your dog for more walks or giving your cat extra playtime.”
Erin added: “We’re so grateful to PDSA for their help, I don’t know what we would have done without them. Thankfully Ghost is back to his usual self just in time for Christmas.”
If you think your pet might have eaten something they shouldn’t, call your vet immediately as they might need urgent treatment.
Vet charity PDSA provides free and low cost vet care for those who struggle to pay treatment costs for their sick and injured pets. For many vulnerable pets, PDSA is there to help when there is nowhere else for their owners to turn. Since the first UK lockdown began, PDSA’s dedicated vet teams carried out more than one million phone consultations. With 388,000 pets treated in 2020, by keeping their 48 Pet Hospitals open, PDSA can support the thousands of pets that need help across the UK every day. Every pet deserves a fighting chance. Please donate today and help save pets’ lives – www.pdsa.org.uk/pdsa-chance.