- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 21, 2017

Dogs make more trips to the vet during the Christmas holiday compared to other days of the year, needing to be treated mostly for chocolate poisonings and eating small decorations, a new study found.

An increase in hospital visits also occurs around Easter, with dogs snacking on Easter eggs and chocolate rabbits, yet no difference was observed for Valentine’s Day and Halloween compared to other days of the year.

Researchers in England analyzed over 1,700 cases of animal trips to the veterinarian in the U.K. between 2012 and 2017. Of those, over 300 were related to poisoning, with the highest number of cases caused by bars and boxes of chocolate.

Other commonly reported chocolate culprits included cake, liqueurs, Advent candy, and Santa Claus figurines and Christmas tree decorations.

Their results were published in the British Medical Journal on Thursday.

Dogs don’t react well to certain chemicals in cocoa beans and eating chocolate can lead to vomiting, irregular heartbeat, signs of agitation or seizures.

Of the analyzed cases, vomiting was the most common symptom followed by a quickened heartbeat, the scientists wrote.

“Chocolate ingestion has a unique seasonal pattern which merits highlighting this risk to clients,” the authors wrote in the conclusion, “particularly in the run-up to Christmas and Easter as chocolate becomes more accessible within the household.”

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