Dalmatian dodges death after scoffing pack of Christmas After Eights

A six-year-old Dalmatian from Derby has narrowly avoided a Christmas catastrophe after eating an almost full pack of After Eights chocolate - including the wrappers.

But thanks to life-saving veterinary care funded by PDSA, the much-loved family pet Reggie will still get to enjoy the festive season with his family.

Reggie got his paws on the chocolate when his owner, Natalie Wood (31), popped out with her son, Brooklyn (10), to football practice.

“When I got home I noticed straightaway what had happened. I’d had three myself and left the box on the side in the kitchen, which I thought was out of his reach, but when I got home the rest of the chocolates had gone with just the box left, so I knew he had eaten almost the whole pack, including the wrappers,” Natalie explained. “I panicked because I know how dangerous chocolate can be to dogs so I called my local PDSA straightaway.”

Natalie’s local PDSA confirmed they could help Reggie and advised her to take him to their out of hours provider Vets Now in Derby. Once there, the vets gave Reggie an injection to make him sick.

Luckily, thanks to Natalie’s quick thinking and the treatment, which cost more than £300 and was funded by PDSA, Reggie made a full recovery and was able to return home the same day with medication to prevent his body from absorbing any remaining toxins.

“Usually Reggie is such a happy and playful dog, but he was really feeling sorry for himself that day, you could tell he wasn’t himself,” Natalie explained. “But when we got home, I gave him a plain dinner of chicken and rice and the medication the vets gave us, and then he slept all night. He woke up the next morning and was back to normal!”

Ahead of the Christmas period, Natalie and PDSA are warning other pet owners of the dangers festive treats can pose to furry friends.

“Everyone knows chocolate is poisonous to dogs so I dread to think what would have happened to Reggie without PDSA,” Natalie added.

“With the cost of living crisis at the moment, I’m noticing everything is going up, from milk to petrol, and with Christmas around the corner, money is really tight. I have no idea what I would have done without PDSA as I would have struggled to afford the care Reggie needed to save his life.”

Natalie, who lives in Swadlincote, adopted Reggie when he was just a year old.

“He’s been my best friend ever since,” she said. “He is one of the family; life wouldn’t be the same without him.”

Photos showing Boomi recovering from his injuries at home

PDSA Veterinary Nurse Shauna Spooner said: “Many of us have treats, sweets and chocolates in the house, and while the festive period can be a time for indulgence, it’s important to remember that some of these foods are very harmful to our pets. Foods including chocolate, mince pies, onions, raisins, grapes, some nuts, sage-and-onion stuffing and Christmas cake can all be harmful and should be kept safely out of paws’ reach over Christmas.”

“Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine, which is toxic to dogs, cats, and rabbits. In severe cases, chocolate poisoning in dogs can cause fits and even death. If you suspect your dog has eaten any amount of chocolate, call your vet straight away for advice, don’t wait for symptoms to appear, but there are some key signs to be aware of:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • A tender tummy and restlessness
  • Tremors
  • A racing heart or abnormal heart rhythm
  • Raised body temperature and rapid breathing

“The higher the cocoa content of the chocolate, the more dangerous it is, so dark chocolate poses the biggest risk to pets.”

PDSA is the UK’s leading veterinary charity. Through our 48 Pet Hospitals and Pet Care scheme, we save the lives of poorly pets who would otherwise be left untreated.

Every year, we helped over 388,000 pets. Without us, emergency cases like Reggie's would be left untreated and many pets could lose their lives or be separated from families who love them.

We wouldn’t be here for dogs like Reggie without your support. Please consider donating today.

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