Families Warned: Easter Eggs Can Poison Pets

Here's a good reason for your children not to share their Easter Eggs: the chocolate is a menace to family pets.

The number of pets poisoned by chocolate doubles over the Easter break, according to a new survey, which is why owners have been warned to be vigilant.

Research by LV= pet insurance shows that twice as many claims for chocolate poisoning are made around the Easter and Christmas holiday periods, compared to the rest of the year.

Thousands of animals are treated each year for reactions to theobromine - a naturally occurring stimulant found in the cocoa bean which affects the central nervous system and heart and can kill a dog.

The danger depends on the animal's size and the type of chocolate.

Darker and more expensive chocolate contains more theobromine.

While humans have the metabolism to cope with the stimulant, it can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and dehydration in pets.

Pet insurance manager Julie Constable said: "As the Easter weekend approaches and people have more chocolate in the home than usual, we're reminding those with dogs and cats to keep it well out of their reach.

"If a pet does get hold of some chocolate and eats it, then their owners should contact a vet for advice straight away."