‘Tis the season to hide the chocolate from your dog

In this file photo, an Indian dog breeder feeds chocolate to a four-month-old Korean Dosa Mastiff puppy during a press briefing in Bangalore. (AFP)
Updated 22 December 2017
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‘Tis the season to hide the chocolate from your dog

PARIS- While Christmas may be a time of sweet indulgence for humans, for dogs it is a period of heightened risk of chocolate poisoning, experts warned on Thursday.
With edible tree decorations, sweet-laden advent calendars and gift boxes aplenty, chocolate becomes “more accessible” meaning dog owners must be extra vigilant, a University of Liverpool research team said.
When eaten by dogs, chocolate in small doses can cause vomiting or diarrhea, and in large quantities it can lead to muscle tremors, seizures, an irregular heartbeat, internal bleeding or even heart attacks.
It is responsible for about a quarter of all acute canine intoxication cases.
“Chocolate ingestion has a unique seasonal pattern which merits highlighting this risk,” the researchers wrote in the Vet Record journal after scrutinizing five years worth data on chocolate poisoning from 229 British veterinary practices.
Such cases increase fourfold over Christmas compared to the rest of the year, they found, while at Easter it was double.
Young dogs were more likely to eat chocolate than older ones.
“Sources of chocolate included bars and boxes (often gift selections) of chocolate, Easter eggs, chocolate cake, liqueurs, chocolate rabbits, Santa Claus figurines, advent calendars, and Christmas tree decorations,” the research team wrote.
There was “one case involving a hot chocolate drink.”
Reported doses were mostly small, except in one case involving “a garden of Easter eggs hidden for a large party of children,” the team found. None of the cases were life-threatening.
For dogs, the toxic element in chocolate is theobromine, with pet food maker Hills explaining on its website that while humans easily metabolize the substance, dogs process it much more slowly, “allowing it to build up to toxic levels in their system.”
Darker chocolate contains more of the substance, and less than an ounce (28 grams) of dark chocolate is enough to poison a 22 kilogramme (44-pound) dog.
“If you are worried or suspect that your dog may have eaten a large quantity of chocolate... call your veterinarian immediately,” the company advises.
Chocolate is bad for cats too, but they are less likely to eat it. Unlike other mammals, they do not taste sweetness.


Ozil defends controversial picture with Erdogan

Updated 22 July 2018
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Ozil defends controversial picture with Erdogan

  • Ozil said he was loyal to both his Turkish and German origins
  • He insisted he did not intend to make a political statement

BERLIN: Footballer Mesut Ozil said Sunday he had no regrets about his controversial photograph with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that sparked questions about his loyalty to Germany’s national squad ahead of the World Cup.
Breaking his silence over the snapshot that caused outrage during the tournament, the Arsenal midfielder said in a statement on Twitter that he was loyal to both his Turkish and German origins and insisted he did not intend to make a political statement.
“Like many people, my ancestry traces back to more than one country. Whilst I grew up in Germany, my family background has its roots firmly based in Turkey,” he said.
“I have two hearts, one German and one Turkish.”
Ozil said he had first met Erdogan in 2010 after the president and German Chancellor Angela Merkel watched a Germany-Turkey match together.
“Since then, our paths have crossed a lot of times around the globe,” he said.
“I’m aware that the picture of us caused a huge response in the German media, and whilst some people may accuse me of lying or being deceitful, the picture we took had no political intentions.”
Ozil said despite the timing of the picture with teammate Ilkay Gundogan and Erdogan — shortly before the president won re-election in a poll endowing him with sweeping new powers — “it wasn’t about politics or elections, it was about me respecting the highest office of my family’s country.”
“My job is a football player and not a politician, and our meeting was not an endorsement of any policies,” Ozil said.
“I get that this may be hard to understand, as in most cultures the political leader cannot be thought of as being separate from the person. But in this case it is different. Whatever the outcome would’ve been in this previous election, or the election before that, I would have still taken the picture.”
Ozil, 29, came in for stinging criticism in Germany for their shock first-round defeat at the World Cup.
Team boss Oliver Bierhoff suggested after the debacle that Germany should have considered dropping Ozil after his failure to explain himself over the Erdogan picture.
Bierhoff later backtracked, saying that he “was wrong” to put Ozil under undue pressure, but the picture continued to draw scorn from fans on social media.
Germany is home to more than three million people of Turkish origin.