I don’t know about you but Easter Time is my favourite time of year!  The days are getting longer so me and my dogs Teddy and Scarlett can enjoy some relaxing evening walks.   Blossom is on the tree so you know its spring and my yellow forsythia in the garden looks so colourful after the grey days of winter.  Wouldn’t it be nice if this Spring feeling could last?  Have you been Spring cleaning in readiness for the family visit on Easter Sunday?   Traditionally roast leg of lamb with mint sauce and new potatoes.  Did someone mention Easter Eggs?!!  Chocolate!!   Lots of chocolate Easter Eggs!
Can I give some chocolate to my dogs? what if it is milk chocolate  white chocolate wont hurt surely? will it? Bad news: It will.
I.Chocolate contains a stimulant called  theobromine’  We humans can process theobromine but dogs metabolism means they process it much more slowly which allows the toxic levels to build up in their system with fatal results.  Dark and cooking chocolate contain the most theobromine while milk and white chocolate have less.  Large dogs can eat more chocolate before they show signs of ill effects.  Small dogs would only need a little chocolate.for disastrous consequences.  It really is not worth the risk. The trouble is, chocolate Easter Eggs are around for days and even weeks posing a potential hazard to your lovely pet.  If your dog eats small amounts of chocolate say over a period of days, there is a build up of toxins. Take no chances!  If your family pet gets hold of an easter egg and eats it, don’t wait! take him to your vet straight away.
Theobromine can cause vomiting, diarrhea and siezures. If your dog is very restless  thats a sign he may have gotten his nose into some chocolate without you knowing it.
Is there anything you can give your four-legged friend as a treat this Easter?
Pets@Home (other pet shops are available) make carob Easter Eggs for dogs.  Carob is a safe alternative to chocolate.
 How about  ice cream for dogs?  Take one Kong (every home should have one)  Mix up some yoghurt, a mashed banana and some honey.  Stuff the Kong and place it in the freezer.  Perfect for when you have guests and you want to keep your pet occupied.
 Last weekend I made some safe Easter eggs for dogs . Six ounces  Self Raising Flour, 3 ounces margarine, one large egg, finely chopped carrot and a sparse  addition of some home cooked liver pieces. add some milk if you need more liquid, liberally dust your hands with flour and make oval shapes with your hands. Your children would love to help with this part. Bake them in the oven gas mark 180 degree approximately 20 minutes.
My dogs loved them!
Why not have a Canine Easter Egg Hunt?  Dogs have as much fun finding them as eating them. Just don’t let them eat the eggs all at once!
One Easter the whole fam damily was at my house for Easter dinner. So I bought 2 half legs of lamb and cooked them. (You KNOW what is coming). One of the half legs of lamb was carved ready to put on the plates. I left the kitchen for just a moment to speak to someone and my counter surfing Golden Retriever Teddy scoffed All of it! Luckily I had the other half leg of lamb for my guests!  Now we have a baby gate at the entrance to the kitchen to manage this eating machine on 4 legs.
Obviously keep all chocolate out of reach where your dog cannot get his paws on it. When young children are eating chocolate you could pop your pup in his crate with his stuffed kong.
At Enfield Chace Dog Training Club we teach food manners
1.  Show your dog what you want to do by putting a low value treat ( such as kibble) on the floor in front of your dog and cover it with your hand.
2.  Your dog will start to nuzzle your hand to try and get the treat. When he stops, click or use clickword and reward with a higher value treat from your other hand.
3.  Gradually uncover the treat on the floor by removing your hand.   When your doggy does this several times consistently, put the behaviour on cue by saying ‘ leave’ it for example.
4.  Practice this exercise often and everywhere! In  the kitchen, living room and garden.
Finally play is a fantastic opportunity to practice taking things from dogs. Play together with a toy and when you want puppy to give it up, exchange for another toy or treat. You can teach doggy to ‘drop’ a toy to the floor by rewarding him when he does and teach him to give to ‘hand’ by saying ‘hand’. Practice by playing short retrieve games.  Throw a toy about two feet away, call puppy when he picks it up then say drop! or hand! and have another game!  Keep training sessions short (10minutes) Make it fun!
Please remember chocolate is a lovely treat to us but poison to our dogs..Please be careful.
Happy Easter!
until next time
Christine, Scarlett and Teddy