Christmas cheer nearly turned to tears for a Humberside family after their pet dog ate the treats from an advent calendar – then needed emergency veterinary treatment for chocolate poisoning.

Three-year-old Lhasa Apso, Daisy, helped herself to the goodies when owner Frances Hird (34) left the calendar unattended as she took daughter Holly to school from their home in Spring Bank West, Hull:

“When I got back 15 minutes later, I noticed the house was eerily quiet, and wondered where Daisy was,” recalls Frances. “I ran upstairs and found her sitting among the remains of Holly’s advent calendar. It was in tatters and all the chocolates were gone.”

Daisy became ill as a result of her sweet treats so Frances took her to Hull PDSA PetAid hospital, located on Brunswick Avenue. Senior Veterinary Surgeon, Murtagh McDonnell, recalls the case:

“Daisy came into us suffering from a very painful stomach, as she’d eaten quite a lot of chocolate for a small dog. Human chocolate can be deadly to dogs because it contains theobromine which is highly poisonous. We immediately gave Daisy injections to counteract the side effects of the poisoning and thankfully there appeared to be no serious harm done.”

This was a great relief to Frances, who brought her sweet-toothed pet back to the hospital the next day for a check-up and received the all-clear. “I want to say a big thank you to PDSA for treating Daisy. Within hours she was back to her normal self again. We’ll be making sure that sweets and chocolates are kept out of her way from now on.”

Chocolate poisoning is one of the many Christmas related pet hazards PDSA vets encounter over the festive season. Some people give their pets chocolates as treats, not realising how dangerous it is, or, as in this case, accidentally leave them within easy reach of curious paws.

Murtagh added: “Daisy was very lucky in this instance, but chocolate can be deadly. If you want to treat your pet this Christmas, try a savoury pet treat, new toy, a nice long walk or game of fetch!”

PDSA’s top five Christmas pet hazards:

1. Swallowing objects – accidents have included eating toys, decorations and batteries.

2. Accidental poisoning through chocolate and other human foods, such as raisins and artificial sweeteners.

3. Gastric torsion – a twisted stomach often caused by vigorous exercise immediately after a large meal.

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4. Hypothermia – low body temperature from exposure to cold weather.

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