Warning: Don’t feed pets human treats this Easter
As little as 50g of chocolate can be toxic and kill a dog.
That is the stark warning issued by the RSPCA in the countdown to Easter.
RSPCA Queensland's chief veterinary officer, Dr Anne Chester, said with most pets considered part of the family, there was a quite normal inclination to share the food with the family pet.
But she urged pet owners to keep human Easter treats away from their four-legged friends.
"The problem is that the systems of cats and dogs cannot tolerate theobromine, one of the key ingredients of chocolate," Dr Chester said.
Theobromine can cause a range of problems in domestic animals because it triggers the release of adrenaline, which can lead to a greatly accelerated heart rate and an irregular heartbeat.
Pets can vomit, suffer diarrhoea and excessive urination and become hyperactive. This can be followed by depression, coma, seizures and death.
Dr Chester said chocolate was not the only potential health hazard at Easter.
"Onions can also be toxic, even small amounts contained on pizza slices.
"The fatty foods in barbecue leftovers can affect the animal's pancreas and lead to pancreatitis.
"Cooked bones can also cause major problems. They're brittle and the sharp slivers can either lodge in the throat or pierce the stomach lining."
Dr Chester said she was not trying to be melodramatic.
"We want everyone to enjoy the Easter break but, please, think carefully before you feed your pets food designed for humans, especially chocolate."