How to Have a Pet-Safe Easter
Veterinarian Reviewed on April 11, 2009 by Dr. Janice Huntingford
Sunday, 12 April 2009 is Easter Sunday. A religious holiday that is celebrated by many pet owners the world over, by giving and sharing Easter baskets filled with chocolate bunnies and Easter eggs with their family and friends. However, before you share that basket of goodies with your pet, here are few things to consider:
Of all the dangerous flowers that people like to bring into their home, the Easter Lily is the most lethal! Although these flowers are strikingly beautiful, they should not be brought into your house during Easter (or any other time of the year) especially if you have pets.
Cats can’t resist a good looking flower to nibble on and Easter Lilies are no different. However cats that ingest this flower will show symptoms of poisoning, such as vomiting, lethargy and loss of appetite. Sadly, these cats can die from kidney failure if they are not treated within two days.
A staple of every Easter basket, the Easter egg is available in many different colors and designs. They can be plastic toy eggs or colored hard boiled eggs.
The shininess of plastic Easter eggs are very attractive to a pet as they look like toys to them. But, if your dog or cat decides to chew or even swallow parts of the plastic egg, they will create severe intestinal problems that will require immediate surgery.
Easter eggs that have been hardboiled and colored are only dangerous if left out for quite awhile. Since eggs can spoil quickly, it is a good idea to count how many hardboiled eggs you have before you hide them, and again after the Easter hunt is over. A rotten egg can make a dog very sick.
Every Easter basket usually contains a multitude of colorful, plastic, Easter grass as part of the decorations. Be careful with using this type of decoration though as cats like these shiny threads and will play with them like they would with a piece of yarn. The difference, however, is that if your cat should accidently eat some of these grass it can be lethal. This is because pets are not able to digest this plastic grass and the threads will become stuck in their intestines, cause a blockage and require expensive surgery immediately.
If you really want to use grass to decorate your Easter basket, try using certified cat grass or full grown catnip instead. You’ll get your decorations and your cat’s will get a mouthful of the good stuff!
It is a good idea to re-educate children, and some adults, on the dangers of chocolate for pets. Explain to children that it is not ok to share their chocolate bunny with their dog or cat, because it will make them very sick, very quickly. It does not take a lot of chocolate to cause your dog to have an upset tummy, so make sure that you supervise children with the chocolate bunnies around your dog.
Easter candy can also be just as lethal to pets as chocolate can be! Most of these treats contain excessive amounts of sugar that can cause digestive upset for your dog or cat.
Also, most candies come wrapped up in colorful, shiny, foil that can also cause internal damage to your pet. The wrapping can have sharp pieces that can tear your pet’s esophagus or intestines, requiring a trip to the emergency vet. Make sure that you pick up and dropped wrappings immediately.
“As many pet owners know, animals will eat just about anything that they can find, including Easter treats,” said Adam Goldfarb, director of the Pets at Risk Program in the Companion Animals department of The HSUS. “Chocolates and candies that are high in sugar and caffeine are especially bad for our animal companions. Every pet owner should make an effort to keep these foods out of the reach of their furry friends.”
Be vigilant regarding small toys that are given to your children on Easter, as these can pose a potential choking hazard to your dog or cat if they are attempt to swallow them.
Please think carefully before buying a baby bunny or baby chick for your children this Easter. Acquiring any pet should be considered a lifetime commitment and should be given the best possible care. If you are not ready for such a commitment, then please do not buy a baby animal this Easter.
Remember too that these baby animals oftentimes carry a strain of Salmonella that can be easily transmitted to your children and other household pets.
Before you start hiding all the Easter goodies around your house or yard, place your pet in another room so that he or she does not dig up the goods as soon as you’ve hidden them.
After the hunt is over, count up all the goods that were found. This way, you can be sure that there are now hidden surprises for your dog or cat to find!
Some pets do not like to be around large gatherings, even if they consist of your family and friends. Sugar crazed children can be quite daunting to your pet as their hyper active movements can easily scare them. For these nervous pets it may be better for them if you place them in a quiet area of your home during the Easter festivities.
Photo Credit: BigDuff
Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for 28 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan