Easter Holiday Hazards

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Although most of us are looking forward to springtime and Easter celebrations, we need to take a few precautions to ensure a safe celebration for our pets.

The most common treat for our children at Easter time is chocolate. However, chocolate can be highly toxic to pets. Theobromine is the ingredient in chocolate that makes it toxic. Theobromine causes the release of substances that can increase a pets heart rate and cause cardiac arrhythmias. Other symptoms of chocolate toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea seizures, coma and even death. The degree of toxicity is very dependent on the size of your pet, the amount of chocolate consumed and the type of chocolate eaten. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is. Baking chocolate has the highest concentration of theobromine and is therefore the most toxic.

Be very cautious if you have any sugar free treats available. Many sugar free items contain xylitol as a sugar substitute. Xylitol is a highly toxic substance for animals. Even a small amount of xylitol can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, liver failure and even death. Xylitol causes a rapid release of insulin from a dog’s pancreas, which leads to a rapid decrease in blood sugar.

If part of your Easter decorations includes Easter baskets, caution is advised if the basket is lined with Easter grass. Cats are especially attracted to the grass. Unfortunately, Easter grass can easily cause an intestinal obstruction if consumed.

One of my favorite parts of spring is the beautiful flowers associated with the season. Tulips, Hyacinths, and Easter Lilies are just a few of the festive flowers we can have in our homes. Unfortunately, Easter Lilies are highly toxic to cats. If a cat just chews on any part of the plant, they develop symptoms of poisoning. Vomiting, lethargy and loss of appetite are symptoms of lily poisoning. Cats will develop kidney failure within two days of exposure to an Easter lily. My best advice is if you own cat, DO NOT GET AN EASTER LILY!!!

With just a few proper precautions, you and your pet can have a safe spring and Easter Holiday!