Tips to Enjoy a Safe Easter

Tips to Enjoy a Safe Easter

The Easter holiday brings many things to look forward to as we plan family get-togethers, egg hunts, and stuff baskets with goodies for loved ones.  As we celebrate this year, let’s try to be mindful of the hidden dangers that the Easter holiday may bring. A small dose of preparation will help prevent a huge and potentially expensive dose of harm.

The Easter holiday brings many things to look forward to as we plan family get-togethers, egg hunts, and stuff baskets with goodies for loved ones.  As we celebrate this year, let’s try to be mindful of the hidden dangers that the Easter holiday may bring. A small dose of preparation will help prevent a huge and potentially expensive dose of harm.

Easter Lilies

The beautiful and fragrant Easter lily is a symbol of rebirth and springtime.  But as beautiful as it is, remember that the lily - the leaves, stems, flowers, and pollen - is very toxic to cats. There is no known antidote or medicine that can counteract the poisonous effects of the lily. Within 6 to 12 hours, your cat will begin exhibiting symptoms of nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and dehydration.  This will progress quickly to kidney failure and you may see disorientation, staggering, and seizures.  Always have some activated charcoal on hand and administer it as soon as you suspect that your cat has eaten any part of the lily plant.  A trip to the vet may be required for intravenous fluids and blood monitoring of the kidney function.  While Easter lilies are beautiful to look at, it may be best to keep them out of the house and away from your curious cat’s reach.

Easter Baskets

An Easter basket may be waiting on the table for your kids in the morning but not if your dog gets to it first!  There are two hidden dangers lurking in that Easter basket, chocolate, and artificial grass.  

Cute puppy and kitten sitting in a basket together with spring flowers on a white background.Chocolate is toxic for dogs and their exposure should be limited.  Keep those foil-covered chocolate eggs and bunnies out of Fido’s reach or you may be at the Emergency Vet with a very ill dog.  The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is to your dog.  Signs of chocolate poisoning include extreme thirst, diarrhea, too much energy, panting, shaking, and seizures.  If you suspect that your dog has eaten chocolate, administer activated charcoal immediately.  Many dogs will vomit on their own, but if not, your vet may instruct you on how to induce vomiting. Chocolate takes a long time to break down in the body and you may symptoms for as long as 72 hours after ingestion.  By absorbing and removing as much chocolate from the body as soon as possible you’ll lessen the severity and duration of your pet’s illness.

The artificial grass and foil wrappers on that candy also pose a hazard.  The colored artificial grass in the bottom of your Easter basket can wrap around the base of the tongue or stomach and prevent food from passing through.  The foil wrappers on your Easter treats can also become lodged anywhere along the gastrointestinal tract and cause erosions or obstructions.  You may get lucky and these objects will harmlessly pass through the digestive system.  If not, both of these scenarios will result in a very expensive trip to the vet for emergency surgery to remove the offending objects and to attempt to repair any damage.

Easter Dinner

When you sit down to Easter dinner, you may not want your cat or dog to feel left out.  Feeling generous, you toss them the ham bone from your plate and let them happily gnaw away.  But feeding your animals cooked bone can be extremely dangerous as they become very brittle.  As your dog chews on the bone, it is more prone to splintering which may cause an intestinal perforation or bowel obstruction that requires surgical intervention.  Once dinner has been served, make sure the ham bone is kept out of reach of your pets and disposed of properly.chihuahua dog with bunny easter ears and a pink tie with a carrot in mouth isolated on white background

Another issue with the ham bone is the possibility of a pancreatitis attack. Giving your cat or dog cooked fat can bring about a problem where the pancreas becomes inflamed.  This can cause vomiting and lethargy, not to mention it can be very painful and may result in another trip to the emergency room.

If you have friends or family over for this holiday, it may be best to remove your pets from the room where dinner is served or have a pre-dinner chit chat with your guests to lay down the rules of the house. It is always good to have some remedies on hand just in case something does happen. But, per Murphy’s Law, if you have the remedies in your reach nothing will go wrong.

Keep these few precautions in mind and you'll be able to enjoy your Easter flowers, treats, and dinner with family and friends - right along with Fido or Fluffy.  Or even better, stop into the store to pick up some Easter treats for your pet so they can enjoy a little holiday celebrating of their very own. Happy Easter!

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