Easter is full of traditions that, while enjoyable for us, may prove harmful to our pets. Some of these traditions include chocolates, Easter baskets, and certain flowers. The practice of preparing special meals and working on our garden can also pose a risk to our pets. Read on to find out how to keep our four-footed friends safe during this annual holiday.
What is Easter without chocolate? Unfortunately, if our pets eat it, chocolate can cause gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, and diarrhea. Because chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, chocolate can also cause hyperactivity, increased thirst and urination, rapid heart rate, and tremors. Even worse, it can result in seizures and heart failure.
Besides keeping chocolate away from pets, there are other foods our pets shouldn’t have. Avoid giving them scraps from the table. Excessive fat from meats such as pork and ham can cause digestive issues or pancreatitis. In addition, many of the ingredients used in Easter dishes, such as onions or garlic, are poisonous to animals. Certain fruits, vegetables, and nuts can also be fatal to our pets, as can caffeinated drinks and alcohol. Finally, many sugar-free treats are made with a sugar-substitute called xylitol which is toxic to our pets. Xylitol will cause a sudden drop in blood sugar and could lead to seizures and liver failure.
While Easter baskets might be fun to give and receive, they should be kept out of reach of pets. If our pets eat any plastic grass or plastic eggs, the result might be blockage. Plastic grass can become caught at the back of the tongue or in the stomach. This can cause severe damage and even require surgery. If you suspect your pet has eaten, watch for decrease in appetite, lethargy, stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Easter is often synonymous with flowers. Unfortunately, many plants cause harm to pets, and exposure to these will at the very least cause gastrointestinal upset. Lilies are the most dangerous to cats. If you see your cat smelling, licking, or eating lilies, seek immediate medical attention. Ingestion of any part of a lily including the pollen can result in kidney injury or failure. The entire lily plant is toxic: the stem, leaves, flowers, pollen, and even the water in the vase. The recommendation is to not have lilies in your home or garden if you own cats.
Speaking of gardens, while the Easter weekend is a great time to work in the yard, keep in mind that fertilizers and herbicides are poisonous to our pets. Make sure fertilizer is out of reach of your pets. Keep pets indoors while applying these products and always follow instructions concerning when it’s safe to let your pet outside.
Are there ways to include your pets in Easter activities? Absolutely! Consider baking some special treats for your pet. You can even use Easter cookie cutters to make their treats have a festive look. Consider creating a special “basket” for your pet with a pet bed and toys. You might fill some puzzle toys with those healthy treats and see who finds their Easter goodies first—the people or the pets! Not only can you make Easter safe for your pets, but you can include them in your fun by making them part of your annual traditions.