With more sweets and more people going around in the house, dogs will be allowed a few vices during the Christmas holidays. On one thing, however, it is good not to cast off: keep Fido away from the chocolate . According to a study by the University of Liverpool published on Veterinary Record, performed in the United Kingdom, in the Christmas days quadruple cases of canobic poisoning by theobromine, a chemical substance similar to caffeine present in cocoa.

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As a poison. For dogs in particular (but also for cats) theobromine is very harmful, because they metabolize it much more slowly than we do. The effects of its ingestion are visible from 6 to 12 hours after the intake of chocolate (which Fido will try to obtain by removing every possible weapon). A slight intoxication causes vomiting, diarrhea, swelling and restlessness; higher doses involve hyperactivity, tremors, increased blood pressure and body temperature, up to - in the worst cases - seizures, coma and death.

No panettone. The dogs under the age of 4 were the most at risk, the researchers point out, who ask the owners to put chocolate and other sweets in places that are not within reach of the paw (the animals studied have even reached the chocolate figurines of the calendars of the 'Advent). Last year, a study by the Royal Veterinary College of England had warned against giving dogs products containing raisins, which can cause kidney problems.