Easter weekend will soon be upon us. With the advent of the season comes much preparation for the holiday. Maybe you’ve picked up an Easter lily or two to adorn your dining room table, and there is always chocolate needed as part of the Easter Bunny’s offerings to your children. Everything is nearly in its place, and you’re as ready as you’re going to be for this family-centered occasion.
Easter marks a joyous springtime celebration for most families. While the most hazardous problem our human family is likely to face is a stomach ache from overindulging in Easter candy, there are many more dangers that could affect our pets. The wise pet owner takes note of things that could pose a problem for their dogs and cats and puts precautionary measures in place to ensure their safety.
Easter Items that are Hazardous to our Pets
Easter brings about some items that we don’t see on a year round basis. From flowers to candies to special decorations, there are many things on display that can be harmful for our pets.
Among the top potentially hazardous things all pet owners should be aware of are:
It is well known amongst pet owners that many different plants and flowers can be toxic for our pets. At Eastertime, we see a preponderance of flowers that make their appearance primarily at this time of the year as a hallmark of the arrival of spring. Three of the most toxic for our dogs and cats are Easter lilies, Cyclamen, and the Amaryllis.
Lilies, in particular, are synonymous with Easter celebrations and can be found in many homes at this time of year. While lilies are more toxic for cats than dogs, both can suffer extremely ill effects from ingesting even the tiniest portion of this flower. Cats who chew on lily petals are at an extremely high risk of developing kidney failure. But nibbling on the flower itself is not the only means of contact that can result in kidney issues. Because cats are fond of grooming themselves, a cat that brushes up against a lily and ends up with pollen on her coat or even her feet can end up accidentally consuming the pollen during her regular grooming routine.
Cyclamen is a favorite spring flower because of its cheery, brightly coloured blossoms. Through consumption of the flower petals or the roots, dogs and cats can experience acute or severe health complications. These can range from nausea, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal distress to heart irregularities and seizures. Ingesting even minute portions of the cyclamen plant can even have fatal consequences.
The Amaryllis is a stunning flower to behold, but extremely hazardous for our pets to ingest. The plant, in its entirety, is poisonous to dogs and cats; however, the most severe reactions occur from licking, chewing, or eating the bulb of the flower.
For the utmost in pet and home safety, leave these flowers for homes without dogs and cats and instead enjoy a more pet friendly spring floral option such as African violets, snapdragons, orchids, Gerbera daisies, or roses.
Chocolate and Candies
Most pet owners are aware of the seriousness of giving chocolate to their pets. While dark chocolate and cocoa powder are of the greatest concern when it comes to toxicity, even milk chocolate can pose problems for our pets.
Chocolate contains the chemical compound theobromine. When consumed by our pets, this particular chemical has a cocaine-like effect on them, causing the heart to race uncontrollably. If minute amounts were ingested and it is detected in time, charcoal can be administered by a veterinary professional to induce vomiting. However, if too much time has passed and the theobromine has entered the bloodstream, your pet is at an extremely high risk for a fatal heart attack.
Candy can also be problematic for our pets. While Easter candy comprised of sugar may lead to diarrhea, vomiting, or in more extreme cases, pancreatitis; some candies contain xylitol, a plant-derived sugar substitute which is extremely toxic to dogs and cats. Through ingesting even trace amounts of this substance, your dog or cat will experience irredeemable, and most likely lethal, liver failure.
Grass for Decorating Easter Baskets
Decorative Easter grasses are very appealing to our pets. After all, they come in an array of hues, are shiny, and fun to chew. Many pets find it difficult to resist. However, any animal that ingests Easter grass is at an extremely high risk for grave intestinal problems. While it is possible that the grass will simply be eliminated through your pet’s fecal matter, it is also possible that the grasses could become entwined around the intestines leading to obstructions which require surgical intervention to remove, if possible. This is both extremely painful for our pets and hard on our wallets.
Eggs in all of Their Forms
At Eastertime, we enjoy eggs in all of their forms—chocolate, plastic, and real. They provide a powerful visual sign of the rebirth that is associated with the season. However, any one of these items can be troublesome for our pets. Chocolate, of course, is toxic, and must be stored far out of reach of any pet at all times. Plastic eggs can be mistaken for toys or balls. Chewing on them may cause them to shatter and become lodged in a dog’s throat leading to choking. Shards from broken eggs can also become embedded in paw pads, between teeth, or in gums, requiring veterinary assistance to properly remove.
Yeast products require proper fermentation. Cooked yeast doughs rarely cause problems for our pets. However, raw yeast doughs must complete correct rise times in order to achieve the proper finished product. Should a dog consume a portion of raw yeast dough, the rise time will still occur; only it is going to take place in the dog’s stomach. This swelling is incredibly painful and can potentially lead to ruptures.
Ham and Pork
Dogs love meat and keeping them out of it can be a challenge. The main culprit in ham and pork products is the salt. Dogs are drawn to it like a magnet, but excess salt consumption is extremely hazardous to their health and must be avoided.
Precautions You Can Take at Easter with your Pets
You don’t have to give up the elements you most enjoy about Easter simply because you own pets. However, it is wise to exercise a little bit of caution.
If you choose to purchase spring floral arrangement to enjoy, select from a variety of blossoms that are known to be pet friendly. If you just can’t live without a Cyclamen or Easter lily, place it somewhere in your home where it is absolutely impossible for your pet to reach; no matter how hard he may try.
Keep all hazardous foods under lock and key. Consider finding substitutes for foods or substances that are exceptionally toxic and without remedy if ingested.
Make use of colorful tissue paper for filling Easter baskets. This allows you to make the baskets pretty and fun for your children while still providing the added advantage of protecting your beloved pets.
With a little bit of caution, you can still enjoy all of your Easter favorites and keep Fido and Fifi safe too!