A Perth puppy caused Christmas Day chaos when he ate a 15-inch supersize Toblerone he stole from under the tree.
Sandy struck just when his owners Lisa and Andrew Sinclair had finally gone to bed after a long Christmas Eve spent wrapping presents last December.
Chocolate is highly toxic for dogs and can lead to poisoning and potentially fatal heart arrhythmia.
Vets Now emergency clinics and hospitals are bracing themselves for the festive season, which sees their emergency caseload spike by 97%.
Lisa and Sandy had to leave their Perth home in the early hours of Christmas morning to visit the Vets Now Dundee emergency clinic at the worst possible time of the year.
‘He was looking pretty pleased with himself’
Lisa says: “I’d literally just got off to sleep when I heard the commotion and thought ‘something’s not right here.’
“At that point we’d only had Sandy for about six months — we rehomed him from another family — and he was sleeping on the sofa at night because that’s what he was used to at his old house.
“He’s not normally one for looking for food he’s not allowed, but I think he must just have smelled the chocolate and found it impossible to resist.
“He seemed fine, and was looking pretty pleased with himself, but because we’ve had dogs before we knew if they get hold of something like that it can be very dangerous.
“The two problems we had were the amount he’d eaten and the fact it was Christmas; we wondered how we could get any help.
“The more we Googled it the more we realised how serious it could be for Sandy, even though there seemed to be nothing wrong with him.
“Luckily for us, Vets Now in Dundee were open. When we rang and explained what had happened, they started doing the calculations about how much risk he was facing.
“They needed to know his body weight plus the weight of the chocolate.
“They did the maths and said to bring him in straight away.”
The Vets Now team gave Sandy medicine to induce nausea to clear his stomach of as much Toblerone as possible.
He headed home with bottles of liquid charcoal for Lisa to give him to continue cleansing his tummy.
Lisa said: “Of all the ways you might think of spending Christmas, a trip to the emergency vets is definitely not one of them!
“But we couldn’t have just done nothing and hoped for the best. Sandy is part of our family and we couldn’t risk any harm to him.
“He now sleeps in a basket upstairs and the door to the living room will be shut this Christmas Eve.”
Advice for pet owners
Emergency vet Dave Hollinshead, who is part of the Video Vets Now team, adds: “Dogs who have eaten a toxic amount of chocolate usually start showing symptoms between four and 24 hours later.
“These can include vomiting, diarrhoea, restlessness, rapid breathing and seizures.
“Unfortunately, we see a lot of cases like this. Our advice is to keep chocolate treats well away from your dog.
“We really hope Lisa and her family have a slightly quieter Christmas this time around.
“Please do seek help immediately if your dog does get hold of either chocolate, currants or raisins this year.”