It’s almost Easter.
It’s a fabulous time to enjoy with our families and friends, including our furred companions, but with the festivities comes a multitude of potential dangers for pets. Fortunately, all of these possible hazards can easily be avoided with some precaution.
Don’t worry you won’t have to give up your favourite treats and traditions to have a safe time. Easter provides a nice break that we hope all our clients will enjoy with their pets.
The following Easter holiday items are some of the common dangers for your pet:
Chocolate poisoning is one of the commonest poisonings we see at our emergency hospital. Most adults already know how dangerous chocolate is for pets, but is important children know as well. Make sure to tell any children that sharing their chocolate with the family pet could make them very sick.
Chocolate contains an ingredient called theobromine and can be toxic to dogs/cats, sometimes in quite small quantities. Dark chocolate, cooking chocolate and cocoa powder can all make your pet unwell. Milk chocolate is less dangerous but can produce symptoms depending on the amount ingested. White chocolate contains little theobromine and although unlikely to cause theobromine poisoning it is very fatty and can still make your dog ill. In general the darker the chocolate the more theobromine it contains and therefore will be more poisonous.
Initial signs may include:
- Frequent urination
- Vomiting and diarrhoea
As the toxicity worsens the animal may experience:
- Increased heart rate
2. HOT CROSS BUNS
These contain raisins, currants and sultanas – all of which are toxic to dogs.
It is really difficult to predict how a dog will react to eating grapes of any kind, but eating only a small amount can cause your dog severe kidney failure. Sadly, each year dogs die after eating grapes, raisins, currants and sultanas, so don’t take the risk. If you suspect your dog has eaten these, bring your pet down to the clinic immediately. Kidney failure may present itself in the form of decreased urination and/or increased thirst, these symptoms can be delayed by up to 3 days.
3. EASTER LILIES
Every part of an Easter lily, including the flower, is toxic to cats. Ingesting less than one full leaf can lead to severe toxicosis, including kidney failure. Easter lilies do not appear to be toxic to dogs or most other common pets. Why not buy faux lilies for the same look without the hazardous risk to your cats.
Signs of lily poisoning:
- Inappetance (not eating)
- Kidney failure
4. EASTER GRASS AND PLASTIC EGGS
Beware of the dangers that lurk in your Easter basket. Easter grass is fake grass that often accompanies Easter baskets. Easter grass is shiny and sparkly and makes a great crunching sound. Many pets enjoy playing with this plastic concoction, but when ingested, Easter grass can quickly become deadly. Cats are most likely to ingest the grass but puppies are also candidates. The grass has the potential to pass without incident, but for the unlucky few it can also become stuck in the gastrointestinal tract, causing what’s known as a linear foreign body. Linear foreign bodies can impair the animal’s ability to eat, digest or defecate. Perforation or the traumatic opening of the bowel into the abdomen can also occur. This is then an emergency and will require surgery.
The plastic eggs hugely popular in Easter hunts and Easter baskets can pose a threat to pets if chewed and swallowed causing a foreign body. Make sure you keep your pets away from the easter egg hunt and count the eggs are all collected at the end.
Signs of a foreign body include:
- Straining to defecate
- Abdominal pain
- Not eating
- Listlessness and depression
5. HUMAN MEDICATION
Holidays often bring out of town family and friends. Some may bring prescription and over the counter medications that can be harmful to pets. Some of the most common are antidepressants, birth control, pain relief and sleep aids. Keep all medication out of reach of children and animals. If any medication is ingested please call the clinic straight away.
Baby chicks, Bunnies and ducks may seem like the perfect Easter addition, but think twice before you buy. These animals grow into large adult animals requiring full-time care.People often think rabbits etc are very easy to look after and all they need to do is pop them in a hutch in the garden and feed and clean them when needed. Rabbits require a lot of care, including the correct diet, the right environment, the correct companionship and did you know that rabbits can live for up to 10 years? Rabbits deserve their reputation as great family pets, but you need to do some research and understand what it will take to look after a rabbit if you want to add one into your family.
IF YOU SUSPECT YOUR PET HAS BEEN POISONED:
- Contact the clinic immediately 0161 764 4618
- Do not make your pet sick. trying to do this may cause other complications
- Keep packets or ingredient lists, pictures etc of what your pet has ingested