The Easter long weekend is a time of rest and relaxation for millions of Australians across the country.
But it represents a dangerous time for pets due to the extreme health risk posed by chocolate.
On the eve of Easter Sunday, veterinarians are warning Aussies to make sure that chocolate eggs and other choccy treats are kept away from pets.
Dr Leonie Richards, from U-Vet Veterinary Hospital in Melbourne, said theobromine, a substance found in the cacao seeds that are used to make chocolate, was the big risk factor.
Theobromine is known to be deadly to dogs in heavy doses and can also have an adverse impact on canine health.
"The more dark the chocolate is, so the more cocoa that's in there, the more toxic the chocolate is. It is very toxic to dogs and cats," Richards told ABC television.
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"I don't think people realise cats are susceptible but cats don't have such a sweet tooth whereas the dogs do.
She said while the darkness of the chocolate was one variable, another was the size of the pet.
"It is the milligrams per kilogram of pet," Richards said. "If it is a big dog, probably the same amount would be not as toxic to a little dog."
As family feasts get underway, chocolate is not the only food unsuitable for pets.
Experts say pet owners must also not share any onions, grapes or fatty meat offcuts with animals.
As for felines, it's advisable that people should ensure cats don't have any access to lilies which may be found in bouquets bought over the long weekend.
In the case of a pet-related emergency, vets urge calling a local animal emergency centre as soon as possible.
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