Easter is a wonderful time of year. Brightly coloured spring flowers bloom, people enjoy roast dinners, the children get crafty making Easter baskets and decorations, and the greatly anticipated Easter egg scramble gets underway. Unfortunately, all these things are potentially dangerous to your pets. So, what exactly are the hazards at Easter time and how can we avoid them? 

Chocolate

Chocolate is toxic to dogs, cats and rabbits, as they are unable to break down one of the chemicals called theobromine found within it. More often than not, it is greedy dogs that tend to eat chocolate! Always keep chocolate high up and out of reach of your pets. If you are planning an Easter egg hunt, make sure to lock your pets away and note down where you hid all the chocolates, so that none are left behind for your dog to sniff out!

Signs of chocolate toxicity typically occur 4 to 24 hours after it has been eaten. Symptoms range from hyperactivity, muscle tremors, vomiting and diarrhoea, to heart arrhythmias and seizures.

Hot cross buns

Toasted hot cross buns with butter, jam and a cup of tea are delicious. However, these Easter treats contain sultanas and raisins which are poisonous to dogs and cats. The exact mechanism of how they are toxic is unknown, however, even if they eat a small amount, your dog or cat may go into kidney failure. Unfortunately, there are no symptoms immediately after they have eaten sultanas or raisins. Instead, symptoms of kidney failure (increased thirst and an increase in urination) develop between days and a few weeks following ingestion. Never feed your dog or cat a hot cross bun, or any food containing sultanas, raisins or grapes.

Roast dinner

Easter Sunday is a fantastic time to get the whole household together for a big roast dinner,but don’t share this dinner with your furry friends! Cooked chicken bones can splinter and perforate the gastrointestinal tract, and large lamb or beef bones can get stuck in the throat or cause an intestinal blockage. Even slices of pork and the roast trimmings can cause problems; fatty meats can lead to bloating, stomach pain, lethargy and pancreatitis. Onions, garlic, chives and leeks are toxic to dogs and cats; along with triggering drooling, vomiting and diarrhoea, they cause the red blood cells in the body to break down, which can result in a life-threatening anaemia. Never feed your pet leftover roast dinner and make sure any scraps are disposed of and your pet has no access to the rubbish bin. If you can’t resist your pet’s begging, give them their favourite pet treat instead!

Xylitol

Along with chocolate eggs, children are often given lots of sweets over the Easter holidays. Some sweets, baked goods and “sugar-free products” contain the artificial sweetener xylitol, which is harmful to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause a dangerous drop in blood sugar levels leading to weakness, a lack of coordination, seizures, coma and even death. Make sure your children know that they are not to give any human foods to your dog.

Eggs

Chicken eggs are often used as Easter decorations. Raw eggs can carry the bacteria Salmonella and so it is not recommended to feed these to your dog or cat. Fresh hard-boiled eggs are safe to feed; however, the shell should be removed as this is sharp and can damage the lining of the throat and cause discomfort in your pet’s belly. 

Easter crafts

Trying to entertain children during the Easter holidays is always tough, and more often than not we give them the task of making Easter baskets and decorations to keep them occupied! During craft activities, make sure pets are kept away and that the finished products are kept well out of reach from your furry housemates! The little yellow chicks, small toys, pieces of string, ribbons and other craft materials can easily be swallowed by your pet and can cause an obstruction within the digestive tract, requiring surgical removal.

Easter flowers

Easter time is when spring is in the air and flowers bloom! Unfortunately, a lot of flowers in the garden, and cut flowers in vases, are toxic to our pets when eaten. Always ensure you do not have poisonous plants in or around your home.

  • Lilies are extremely toxic to cats and cause kidney failure. All parts of the plant and even the water in the vase that they sit in is dangerous. From just licking a flower or grooming pollen from their coat, a cat can ingest a toxic amount, so it is recommended to never have lilies in or around the house. In dogs, lilies are also poisonous, but tend to cause a gastrointestinal upset.
  • Tulips cause drooling, diarrhoea and vomiting when eaten by cats or dogs.
  • Daffodil flowers can cause vomiting, whilst the bulbs contain crystals which are extremely dangerous to cats and dogs and can cause heart arrythmias and breathing issues. Even the water from a vase with daffodils in is toxic.
  • Amaryllis flowers, stalks and bulbs are poisonous to cats and dogs and can cause drooling, vomiting, abdominal pain, breathing issues, a drop in blood pressure and even tremors and seizures.

If you are concerned that your pet has accidently ingested any of the above hazards, stay calm and ring us immediately. Remember, despite the lockdown, we’re still open for emergencies and advice! If you would like more information on what is considered an ’emergency’, please refer to this article which has some helpful information on urgent care.

However, if you are any doubt, please just give us a call.