A VET is pleading with dog owners to watch where they leave chocolate lying around this Easter to avoid more dogs becoming seriously ill or dying.

Chocolate is extremely dangerous for dogs and can lead to death if too much is consumed.

How much is too much? See figures below

It contains theobromine, a substance which is extremely harmful to dogs as they struggle to metabolise it.

If a dog is suffering from chocolate poisoning, they can display symptoms including hyperactivity, vomiting, diarrhoea and fits.

And now vet Alan Hutchinson, acting clinical director at a veterinary hospital in Berkshire has spoken out to highlight just how toxic chocolate can be.

Dark chocolate is worse than milk chocolate because of the cocoa content.

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He said: “In this day and age, when many people are striving to be healthier, they are seeking alternatives to sugar for their recipes and are increasingly using xylitol.

“But what can be perfectly healthy and good for us humans can result in the loss of a pet’s life, so I would urge dog owners to keep anything containing xylitol safely locked away."

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The vet, based at Moor Cottage in Bracknell, added: “Of course, all chocolate and cocoa products should also be kept well out of the reach of dogs.

“Dark chocolate is the most dangerous as it has a higher cocoa content, but milk chocolate is also a threat, as just a couple of small pieces can sometimes be enough to cause a problem.

“The first two hours after eating chocolate can be vital for a pet’s recovery, so it’s essential to call a vet immediately. The sooner a dog is seen and treated the better.”

Mow much chocolate is dangerous for my dog?

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Online advice site Vets Now has a calculator so owners can work out what dose could pose a fatal risk to their dog.

For a 10kg dog, one 40g bar of strong, dark chocolate is ranked as ‘serious emergency - seek urgent veterinary advice. Treatment required. Contact your vet immediately.”

Meanwhile a 40g bar of milder milk chocolate for a small, 7kg dog is classed as ‘Mild to moderate - your dog may need to see a vet’.

A large dog weighing 20kg may be able to eat as much as a whole bar of dark chocolate and avoid serious effects, but it is always worth erring on the side of caution and contacting your vet if you think your dog has eaten any chocolate.