Sweet-toothed Whitby black labrador sparks chocolate alert

Max the black labrador from Whitby, ate some chocolate and became ill.
Max the black labrador from Whitby, ate some chocolate and became ill.

A sweet-toothed Whitby labrador ended up with chocolate poisoning after sniffing out a bar of Green & Blacks, prompting a warning for pet owners to be vigilant over the festive season.

Seven-year-old Max made his move while owner Julia Durance’s daughter Lauren was looking after him, returning from a Christmas shopping trip with bags full of gifts.

Julia said: “My daughter Lauren had Max for the day and she got back from a shopping trip only to realise she had left something behind in one of the shops.

“She quickly put all of her shopping bags high up on the table and popped back into town to retrieve it. Luckily she didn’t take long and as soon as she returned, she realised something was wrong as the bags were all over the place.

“As well as eating the chocolate, Max had also ripped the wrapping off a jewellery box which had a new safety lock in for my charm bracelet, but luckily he had not managed to get through the casing.

“Lauren was great and rang White Cross Vets [which has a branch in Redcar] before taking him into the practice where he was given an injection to make him sick.

“We brought him home that night and he just stayed in his bed in a very quiet state but not asleep. The following day he was back to his normal self, but he wouldn’t leave me alone and was very clingy.

“The chocolate was inside a carrier bag, as was the jewellery box, and everything was placed up high, but that hadn’t stopped him from sniffing it out.

“He is quite a mischievous dog and has stolen socks, hats and gloves off table tops and surfaces before, but he has never got hold of anything so dangerous before. It was quite distressing to see him so sick, but I am very grateful for my daughter’s speedy reaction and the excellent treatment he got at White Cross Vets.”

Vet Cate Titterton is hoping to raise awareness about the increased dangers around Christmas time, which sees a 40% rise in emergency calls.

She said: “Some are due to owners unwittingly feeding dogs harmful food, but the majority are because a dog has eaten something they shouldn’t have, with chocolate being the most common.

“If we can get just one message across it would be to try and be as vigilant as possible at this time of year and if you suspect your pet has eaten something they shouldn’t have, don’t delay – call your vet right away.”

Foods which pose the highest risk to pets

1. Chocolate – this is poisonous to dogs and cats. If you have chocolate decorations on your tree, be sure to keep these out of reach of pets.

2. Christmas cake, Christmas pudding and mince pies – these all contain currants and raisins which are highly dangerous for dogs.

3. Bones – it can be tempting to treat your dog to a turkey bone. However, bones, especially when cooked are brittle and splinter easily.

4. Nuts – as well as providing a choking hazard to pets, macadamia nuts are very dangerous to dogs and can cause weakness, tremors, vomiting and hyperthermia.

5. Onions – these can be toxic to both cats and dogs, causing stomach irritation and anaemia.

6. Alcohol – Alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, difficulty breathing, tremors and even death.