Easter Pet Safety Tips
The Easter holidays signal a time to spend with family and loved ones, and this includes our furry family members. Being aware that there are many Easter dangers that our pets are exposed to during this time, is the first step in keeping them safe and healthy.
Theobromine and caffeine in chocolate make it highly toxic to dogs, especially dark chocolate and unsweetened bitter chocolate which are the most toxic. Signs your pet has ingested chocolate include diarrhea, vomiting, abnormal heart rates and even seizures. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your pet has ingested chocolate.
- Raw Eggs
Although rare, salmonella poses a risk to pets if eaten raw. In addition, eating large amounts of raw egg white can result in a biotin deficiency which is needed for healthy metabolic, nerve and cardiovascular functions. Signs of a biotin deficiency include skin lesions, dry coat, anaemia and lethargy.
- Candy and Food containing Xylitol
This sweetener is found in sugar-free candy, sugar-free baked goods and sugar-free gum. It is also found in mouthwashes, toothpastes and vitamins. Xylitol releases insulin very quickly in a dog’s bloodstream resulting in an extreme drop in blood sugar. It can also lead to liver failure and death. Signs of xylitol ingestion are lethargy, vomiting, weakness and seizures. This is a medical emergency and pet owners should contact their veterinarian immediately if they suspect their pet has ingested any.
- Lamb, Ham and Other Fatty Foods
Fatty foods can upset your pet’s stomach, and in more severe cases cause pancreatitis which is a life threatening condition. Fatty foods such as these mentioned can cause repeated vomiting, bloating, abdominal pain, weakness, lethargy, dehydration and fever.
- Onions, Garlic and Leaks
These are members of the allium family and are toxic to both dogs and cats, as they can cause gastroenteritis and haemolytic anaemia. Signs may take several days to develop and include nausea, drooling, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, pale gums and increased heart rate.
- Alcoholic Beverages
Consumption of alcohol can cause a dangerous drop in blood sugar and temperature due to their relative size. This can lead to seizures and respiratory failure. All alcoholic beverages should be kept out of the reach of pets at all times.
- Easter Lilies
These are extremely toxic to cats and can cause kidney failure and death if not treated correctly. All parts of the lily plant can be deadly to cats including leaves, pollen and flowers. It is recommended to remove any lily plants in your home if you have cats.
- Macadamia Nuts
These are toxic to dogs but is not usually fatal. Signs of ingestion include vomiting, tremors, lethargy, joint stiffness, depression and increased temperature.
- Easter Basket Fillers
Plastic grass, plastic eggs and foil wrappings can be attractive to pets who can chew and swallow them. This can cause an intestinal obstruction which will require surgical intervention. In some cases they can even cause gastroenteritis and pancreatitis.
- Food Colouring
While most egg dyes are safe for consumption, it is important to check that they are non-toxic before you buy them. Certain food dyes have been found to be carcinogenic in mice, which may raise some concerns for pets too, therefore it’s best to avoid feeding them any item with food colouring.
If you are having family and friends over for Easter, it’s best to ensure your pet is fed beforehand, which will reduce him or her begging for food from your visitors. Also ensure your visitors refrain from feeding them off the table. If your pet isn’t used to having a lot of visitors, try ensure you place them in a separate room away from guests where they can relax and feel safe.