How to Avoid Easter Hazards for Your Dog or Cat

Many Easter delights can require an emergency vet visit if your pet ingests them. Follow this advice to keep your pet safe during the holiday!

The glorious Easter season is upon us. It is a holy time to celebrate the Resurrection and the return of spring! While your family is enjoying the Easter holiday, be careful not to put your dog or cat at risk by allowing them to get into the Easter goodies! Keep your beloved family pets safe with these reminders:

Easter Lilies

The Easter lily is a traditional decoration that signifies the spiritual essence of this holiday: hope, life, virtue, and purity. Easter lilies, as well other members of the lily family, can be deadly to your cat. Dogs are usually not affected by ingesting the leaves, but eating a single leaf from this lovely plant can cause lethal poisoning in cats. Symptoms can appear in only minutes or it may take hours. Your cat may refuse food and/or vomit, and the symptoms may lessen only to return hours later. Treated immediately by a veterinarian, your cat may be saved from death. Left untreated, the toxins in the Easter lily leaves can cause kidney failure within five to seven days.

Display Easter lilies, if you must have them, in a room where your cat is not allowed. Placing them in a high spot will not prevent most cats from getting to them, and may only stimulate their curiosity! A safer alternative would be to decorate your home with lovely silk Easter lilies, or choose non-toxic varieties of flowering spring plants such as daisies, violets, or orchids.

Easter Grass

Easter basket grass poses a choking hazard to both dogs and cats. Cats love to play with string-like objects, and dogs may be tempted to eat Easter grass that becomes candy-scented. Plastic Easter grass is not digestible, and may cause an obstruction or possible perforation of the intestines. Don't allow your pets to play with Easter grass, or do without it altogether.

Candy Wrappers

Sweet-smelling candy wrappers are especially tempting to your dog. Most cats do not care for sweets the way dogs do, but may play with loose wrappers that get scattered around. Wrappers also pose a choking or obstruction hazard if your pet decides to eat them. Put candy wrappers in a covered trash can so your dog or cat can't get to them.

Ribbons

It's really cute to decorate your puppy or kitty with streamers, ribbons and bows, but these may present choking, obstruction, or strangulation hazards. Keep these items away from your pets.

Chocolate

No Easter basket is complete without a big chocolate bunny and other delightful chocolate treats. Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine which are nervous system stimulants and toxic to both dogs and cats. Different types of chocolate contain varying amounts of these compounds; the darker the chocolate, the more toxins it contains. One-half pound of milk chocolate is enough to poison a ten-pound cat or dog.

Symptoms of chocolate toxicity include restlessness and hyperactivity, excessive panting, increased urination, and muscle twitching. The high fat content of chocolate can also cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Keep chocolate out of reach of your cat and dog, and teach your children that they should not share their Easter goodies with their pets. Make your pets their own Easter baskets with pet treats so the kids can safely share their holiday fun with their furry friends!

Small or Stuffed Toys

Your dog or cat may not know the difference between that cute plush Easter Bunny and their own stuffed toys. Be sure any stuffed toys that fill Easter baskets are both kid and pet friendly, with eyes, ears, ribbons and other decorations that are securely fastened on. Small parts that come off can be a choking or obstruction hazard. Keep all toys with small parts away from your pets.

Seek Vet Care if Your Pet Ingests a Hazard

Take special care to keep your cat or dog away from these hazards. If you suspect your cat or dog has swallowed something that is toxic or that may cause an obstruction, seek veterinary help immediately. Waiting until the pet begins to vomit or exhibit other symptoms can make treatment more difficult and costly. Don't allow your wonderful holiday celebration to be marred by an emergency trip to the veterinarian or tragic loss of a beloved family member!