Easter and springtime decorations (and edibles) liven the scenery, but also pose a potential hazard to pets. Who knew that plastic Easter grass could be dangerous, even deadly?
With spring comes spring cleaning and surveying the area for any potential hazards to your pets. It's better than the alternative of spending time and money at the veterinary hospital. Here are a few tips to help your clean up.
Easter Lily (and related Lily plants)
The Easter Lily is a common finding this time of year. This plant, and related plants in the lily family, are highly toxic to cats if ingested.
The first signs seen are vomiting and lethargy, and if untreated, may progress to kidney (renal) failure and death. Please call your veterinarian immediately if you suspect that your cat has eaten any part of a lily plant.
Another spring flower often used in cut flower arrangements, daffodils, are also toxic to cats.
For a more in-depth look on plant toxicity, read our article.
Easter Grass (or multi-colored tinsel)
Stringy things like Easter grass or tinsel at Christmas, pose a deadly threat if ingested, creating something called a Linear Foreign Body.
The first noticeable signs, aside from the material being visible from the mouth or anus, are vomiting or straining to defecate and a painful abdomen.
!IMPORTANT! Trying to pull out visible grass or string is not recommended, as this can cause more damage if the piece is long and trapped far inside the body. Call your veterinarian if you suspect that your cat has sampled the Easter grass. While Linear Foreign Bodies are more common in cats, dogs may also ingest non-food material, and the same rules apply.
This is typically more of a dog hazard, as many dogs have a sweet tooth, a great nose, and the determination to find chocolate — hidden or not, but cats may consume chocolate too.
The toxic components in chocolate are theobromine and caffeine, and the level of toxicity is based on the type and quantity of chocolate consumed. Different types of chocolate have different amounts of theobromine and caffeine; dark chocolate contains the highest concentrations and white "chocolate" contains the least.
Early clinical signs are vomiting, diarrhea and trembling.
It is important to note that xylitol, an artificial sweetener used in many candies, chewing gums and baked goods, is potentially very toxic to dogs and ferrets.
For a more in-depth look on chocolate toxicity, read our article.