While many of us will be looking forward to tucking into some chocolate Easter eggs over the weekend, one family member that needs to be kept well away from the sweet stuff is your pet pooch.

Indeed, although humans may consider chocolate to be a tasty treat, this foodstuff is in fact toxic for canines and can causes illness and even death in pet pooches.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, veterinary charity PDSA explained that theobromine - which is one of the chemicals found in chocolate - can be lethal for dogs.

However, it seems that many owners are still unaware of the dangers that chocolate can present to their pets' health and will be unwittingly putting their four-legged friends at risk this Easter by feeding them sweet treats.

In fact, PDSA vets and nurses had to handle more than 400 cases where dogs had eaten potentially lethal chocolate across the UK at its PetAid hospitals last year.

"Many pet owners love giving their pet a treat but are unaware of the dangers of chocolate," PDSA senior veterinary surgeon Elaine Pendlebury, told the newspaper.

"The effects of chocolate poisoning in dogs usually appear within four hours of eating, and can last as long as 24 hours. Initial signs can include excessive thirst, vomiting, diarrhoea, a sore stomach and restlessness."

If you notice any of these symptoms then it is vital that you seek veterinary attention for your dog as soon as possible to give them the best chance of avoiding serious complications

"These symptoms can then progress to tremors, an abnormal heart rhythm, raised body temperature and rapid breathing," Ms Pendlebury added. "In severe cases dogs can experience fits, kidney failure or even death."

However, the best thing you can do for your pooch is to avoid any problems at all this Easter by keeping the chocolate out of your pet's reach and sticking to the premium dog food instead.

Written by: Hannah