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‘Tis the Season for a Major Health Threat to Your Dog, and Its Name Is Chocolate

Scientists have a message for dog owners: Keep the chocolate away from that pooch this holiday season.

Sweet treats containing chocolate, understandably, are all over the place during Christmas and other holiday festivities. But that’s also why dog poisonings by chocolate hit their highest mark on during the holiday season, as noted by a new study by U.K. researchers.

Chocolate is poisonous to dogs and can cause vomiting, massive heart rake spikes, and even seizures among man’s best friend.

Not all dogs are equally at risk. The study authors, examining veterinary visits due to chocolate toxicity, found that puppies and dogs under four years of age were much more likely to be exposed to chocolate (potentially because they have more energy to rummage around for food). Strikingly, Christmas and Easter were the two specific occasions when dog poisoning by chocolate rose significantly compared to other times of the year (including Halloween and Valentine’s Day).

So enjoy the holiday indulgences—just make sure your dog can’t access that delectable chocolate.