The BVA is urging pet owners to keep chocolate Easter treats out of reach from pets in order to avoid an emergency trip to the vets during the ongoing pandemic.
The association warned that strict Covid-19 measures mean that vets are only able to see emergency cases, follow strict social distancing measures and have restricted services to emergency and urgent cases.
The renewed warning comes after the BVA revealed that eight in 10 vets (80%) working in companion animal practice saw at least one case of chocolate poisoning over the 12 months leading up to Easter last year.
More than half (54%) of the vets had seen three or more cases in this period, according to the group’s Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey.
Even in small quantities, chocolate can be very toxic for dogs, and the BVA warned that there is “usually a spike” in chocolate toxicity cases at Easter and Christmas.
It added that the risk was increased with pets spending more time indoors due to the lockdown.
BVA president Daniella Dos Santos said: “While families prepare to celebrate Easter during the Covid-19 lockdown, it’s important to remember to keep any chocolate treats well away from pets to avoid an emergency trip to the vet.
“Chocolate can be poisonous for our pets and dogs, in particular, can easily sniff out sweet treats, so make sure any chocolate goodies are stored securely out of reach of inquisitive noses.”
She added: “This is especially vital at a time when strict social distancing measures mean vets are only able to see emergency cases and may have smaller teams working in the practice as they try to do everything they can to look after pets while protecting clients and themselves.
“If you suspect that your dog has eaten chocolate, don’t delay in calling your vet first for advice on bringing it into the practice. The quicker the animal gets expert veterinary advice and treatment, the better.”