chocolate toxicity

Easter and Springtime Hazards for Dogs and Cats

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)

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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.


Symptoms

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.

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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)

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Stringy things like Easter grass or tinsel at Christmas, pose a deadly threat if ingested, creating something called a Linear Foreign Body.

Symptoms

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.

 

Chocolate


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.

Symptoms

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.


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Halloween Safety for Pets

Keep your pet happy and healthy and out of harm's way this Halloween with these 5 tips!

Keep candies and candy wrappers away from pets.

Chocolate is dangerous and sometimes fatal for cats and dogs if consumed. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and seizures. Candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can also be poisonous to dogs. Even small amounts of xylitol can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar and subsequent loss of coordination and seizures. Don’t forget that the wrappers treats are contained in can be harmful or a choking hazard for your pet.

 

Keep pets confined indoors and away from the door.

Halloween is the prime holiday for vicious pranksters to take advantage of animals left outdoors. Avoid any harm done to your pet by keeping them indoors. Black cats especially fall victim to unjust mistreatment during the month of October.

Your door will also be frequently opening and closing, revealing strangers in unfamiliar attire. This may frighten or upset your pet, especially dogs, who become territorial. Secure your pet in a room away from the noise and activity of the night.

 

Keep pumpkin gourds and autumnal decor out of reach.

Although nontoxic, pumpkin in large quantities can lead to gastrointestinal upset. Lit pumpkins around your pets is also dangerous, as well as decor which they can chew on an ingest. This goes for your furry friend gnawing on electrical cords to lights, causing a life-threatening electrical shock.

 

Don’t dress your pet up in a costume unless you know they love it.

Check for their ability to move freely and do not constrict their ability to breathe or make noise. Also note any allergic reactions or odd behaviors prior to the day by trying the outfit on beforehand.

 

Identification preparation.

Be sure your pet either has a tag or is microchipped prior to the festivities should they find a way of escaping, be it due to all the activity or parties. Read up on the safe practices of microchipping your pet.


Hear From Us Again

Don't forget to subscribe to our email newsletter for more recipes, articles, and clinic updates delivered to your inbox (here). Or, you can keep up to date by liking and following our Facebook page (here). We also have additional tips under our tips category (here).