Warning for dog owners as Easter eggs, hot cross buns cause major vet bills

This is a very bad idea, if you like your dog.
This is a very bad idea, if you like your dog. Photo credit: File

Dog owners are being warned that a cheap packet of hot cross buns or Easter eggs can lead to a vet bill of up to $1000 if their pet manages to snaffle some of the treats.

Southern Cross which provides pet insurance has revealed it paid out $75,000 last year for veterinary treatment for dogs that consumed food that they should not have over Easter.

Manukau After Hours Veterinary head vet nurse Charlotte Castle said since Thursday night there had already been a few pets coming through after eating things they should not have.

She said Easter eggs and hot cross buns will make dogs ill and dogs need to be supervised when these foods are around.

Castle said vet treatment means that it can be very expensive if dogs do manage to snaffle chocolate or raisins.

"Your $5 packet of hot cross bun can turn into a few hundred, up to a thousand, very quickly over Easter," she said.

Castle said it is not that people are intentionally feeding their dogs bad food.

"The old Easter egg hunt in the back yard where the dogs are out with the kids picking up those Easter eggs and eating them.

"The hot cross buns on the bench for lunch... sneaky dog will get in there and the next thing you know they've eaten four or five hot cross buns and there's no safe level of raisins for a dog  and we do need to get those dogs vomiting as soon as possible."

Castle said raisins can cause dogs to have rapid kidney failure within four hours and a trip to the vet is necessary even if the dog has only eaten one raisin, grape, current or sultana.

Dogs cannot digest the theobromine or caffeine which is in chocolate and darker chocolate is worse for them, Castle said.

Castle said they need to work out how much a dog has eaten and whether that is going to cause it a gastro upset or whether they need to be seen by a vet.

She said if the dog is brought to the vet soon enough, they will be given a drug to make them vomit until the stomach is empty, the dog will then be able to go home but will have to eat a special diet for a few days.

"If it's been over four hours we do admit them into clinic, run some bloods, put them on some IV fluids, some gut protectants and run bloods 12 to 24 hours later as well to check those kidney enzymes."

Symptoms of a dog having eaten something that will make it ill might include increased hyperactivity, salivation, a rapid heart rate, restlessness and increased thirst.

The animal may also vomit or have diarrhea, but it will depend on what kind of chocolate and how much of it they have eaten, Castle said.