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Who left the chocs out? Pet experts issue warning to dog and cat owners, as poisonings double over Easter

As Brits get set to eat more than 80 million Easter eggs (1) , Admiral Pet Insurance has teamed up with PawSquad to remind owners of the significant risk of chocolate poisoning, and what to do if the worst happens

Easter eggs in a basket on the grass on a Sunny spring day close-up. running dog in the background
  • Data from online veterinary consultation service, PawSquad, reveals that calls about chocolate toxicity double over Easter and gastrointestinal issues can triple during public holidays (2)
  • Claims from Admiral include a Cocker Spaniel who consumed a chocolate bar AND the wrapper, and a small dog who found and ate 150g of chocolate – the equivalent of a Terry’s Chocolate Orange (3) – when home alone
  • Veterinary surgeon and PawSquad CEO, Dr Mark Boddy, shares advice on what to do if a pet does consume chocolate and how to treat cats and dogs who may ingest harmful foods over the bank holiday weekend, when many in-person vets are closed
  • Veterinary Specialist, Nicki Fox RVN CertVNECC, from Admiral Pet Insurance reveals the foods you should never let your pets eat. No-nos include cheese, nuts, garlic, onions and cooked bones.

With Easter approaching, pet experts are reminding owners to keep their chocolate eggs away from cats and dogs, as chocolate is poisonous for pets. While most humans know they should never feed chocolate to their pet, many homes will have chocolate lying around, and it’s easy for cats and dogs to snaffle tempting chocs in the blink of an eye. If they do consume chocolate, it’s crucial to seek treatment as quickly as possible. This Easter, Admiral Pet Insurance has teamed up with online 24/7 veterinary consultation provider, PawSquad to give advice to cat and dog owners on what to do if their pet accidentally ingests chocolate.

PawSquad’s data shows that during Easter week in 2023, the number of calls it dealt with from pet owners regarding general toxicity almost tripled compared with the previous week. While phone calls for chocolate poisoning more than doubled. With 80 million chocolate eggs consumed over Easter, it’s easy to see how pets can end up getting sick from eating chocolate at this time of year. PawSquad also usually sees cases of gastrointestinal problems triple during public holidays, as we have more tempting food around the home, some of which is toxic to pets. 

Claims for chocolate poisoning reported to Admiral include a Cocker Spaniel who ate a chocolate bar in its wrapper and a small dog who discovered a 150g bar of chocolate - the weight of a Chocolate Orange -  while home alone and scoffed the lot.

Although many people will be stowing away their Easter treats, a clever pet could manage to outsmart its owner. In situations where your pet does ingest chocolate and with many regular vets closed over the bank holiday, it’s crucial that owners know what steps to take. Veterinary surgeon Dr Mark Boddy, CEO of PawSquad has shared advice on what to do to help your dog or cat:

  1. Assess the situation: Firstly, assess the amount and the type of chocolate which has been ingested and reach out to a vet immediately. Dark chocolate and cocoa contain higher levels of theobromine, which is toxic to pets. The smaller the pet, the more dangerous even a small amount can be.
  2. Keep a close eye on your pet: Symptoms of chocolate toxicity can include vomiting and diarrhoea, restlessness, or rapid breathing and heart rate. If your pet shows severe symptoms such as seizures or loss of consciousness, head to an emergency vet immediately.
  3. Ensure your pet stays hydrated: Offer water if your pet is stable but avoid home remedies for inducing vomiting without veterinary guidance.
  4. Speak to a vet as soon as possible: They’ll ask about the type of chocolate amount ingested and your pet size, so follow their guidance on what to do next. However, for bank holidays and times where your nearest in-person vet centres are closed, our friendly vets are online 24/7 to offer help and guidance.
  5. Remember, chocolate toxicity is a serious matter: By acting swiftly and seeking professional help, you can give your pet the best chance of a full recovery. 

Dr. Mark also said: "Last Easter, we saw calls relating to chocolate ingestion more than double during Easter week. Cases of toxicity and gastric upset in general can be up to triple their usual volume around holidays like Easter, Christmas, and Valentine's Day. In these instances, it is crucial to be able to speak to a vet quickly, particularly while in-person vets may be closed."

Chocolate is not the only food that could be harmful to your pets this Easter. Before giving your roast dinner leftovers to your pets, Admiral and PawSquad are encouraging pet owners to consider which foods are right for their pet, and which may be harmful. To support pet parents, Admiral’s Veterinary Specialist Nicki Fox has revealed some surprising snacks are safe for your pets, and which foods to avoid:

Foods to share with your pet:Foods to avoid:

Apples: This fruit is a great source of vitamins A and C, although it's important that cats don't eat the stems, leaves or seeds.


Grapes and raisins: Also found in many cakes including hot cross buns.
Carrots: These are high in fibre but should be cooked for felines to avoid a choking hazard.Onions, garlic and chives: A key ingredient in many meals, it’s key to ensure your leftovers are safely stowed away from your furry friends.
Plain, boiled chicken breast: This is a much safer meat for both dogs and cats.Nuts: Various types of nuts can be harmful, but Macadamia nuts are especially dangerous for dogs and cats.

Blueberries: This fruit is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, K, and E, as well as being high in antioxidants, flavonoids, and fibre.


Milk and dairy: With many pets being unable to break down lactose, consuming dairy could lead to intestinal cramping and diarrhoea.
White rice:  Good for dogs but only in moderation for cats. Ideal for a bland diet when they have tummy ache.Cooked bones: Contrary to the nursery rhyme, don’t give a dog a cooked bone as they can be a choking hazard!

Pritpal Powar, Head of Admiral Pet Insurance said: “Easter can be a busy time and it’s easy to be distracted with visitors in our homes. This can mean that pets are more likely to overindulge in table scraps and non-pet foods, given by owners or well-meaning houseguests. Some of which can be dangerous for dogs and cats.

“For many of us, pets are a big part of the family. If your pet is unwell and needs a trip to the vet, having insurance means you’ll have fewer things to worry about so you can focus on helping your pet when they need you the most.”

PawSquad, monitored by UK registered vets, offers 24/7 advice for pet owners, with the option to communicate via audio, video and text. Find out more, or get the PawSquad app on Apple and Android.

Notes to editors:

1.         Data reveals that between 80 and 90 million chocolate eggs are eaten annually in Britain

2.        Amount of phone calls for chocolate toxicity-related incidents identified by PawSquad in Easter 2023.

3.       A Terry’s Chocolate Orange typically weighs 157g.