April 18, 2014

Easter Holiday Pet Safety Tips From Your Elmhurst Pet Care Team

Author: Kristin Skelton


Tips To Keep Your Fur Kids Safe During the Upcoming Easter Holiday… And Some Pet Easter Basket Ideas Too From Your Elmhurst Pet Care Team

As spring has melted the ice mounds at the end of our driveways, the Easter holiday is coming this weekend. While there will be dog friendly egg hunts in our communities and Easter baskets for our pets, there are also some safety considerations to take into account when beginning your celebration. Here are a few Easter Holiday Safety Tips from your Elmhurst Pet Care Team:

1. Put Away The Chocolate Bunnies. Small amounts of theobromine, the ingredient in chocolate that is toxic to pets, can cause vomiting and restlessness. Large amounts can be fatal. A lethal dose of theobromine depends on the size of the dog and the type of chocolate. Dark chocolate or baking chocolate is worse than milk chocolate because of the higher theobromine content. To get an idea of how much chocolate might be fatal to your dog, see the estimates below:

  • 4 to 10 ounces of milk chocolate or 1/2 to 1 ounce of baking chocolate for small dogs, such as Chihuahuas and toy poodles.
  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds of milk chocolate or 2 to 3 ounces of baking chocolate for medium-sized dogs, like cocker spaniels and dachshunds.
  • 2 to 4 1/2 pounds of milk chocolate or 4 to 8 ounces of baking chocolate for large dogs, including collies and Labrador retrievers.If you think your dog has digested large amounts of chocolate, contact your veterinarian. 

2. Hide The Sugar-Free Goodies Too. Xylitol, an artificial sweetener used in many candies, chewing gums and baked goods, is toxic to dogs and ferrets. While most of us know chocolate is a danger, sometimes we don’t think about non-chocolate candies and random things like grapes and macadamia nuts.

Some foods that are considered good for people can be very dangerous for pets. The link below highlights some of the most common foods that can be dangerous to animals.

For a list of toxic foods from the Humane Society of The United States, click here.

3. Away With The Easter Lilies. While festive plants like Easter lilies are beautiful and bring the feel of spring, some of them are toxic to our furry loved ones, especially our feline friends. Easter lilies and other lilies can cause kidney failure and death in cats. All parts of the lily can be toxic. Eating just one leaf can result in severe poisoning. Cats will generally vomit and become depressed within 2 hours. The vomiting may subside, but the cat will not eat and continue to become more depressed. If you see any of these symptoms in your cat or suspect your cat has sampled part of your Easter lily, contact your veterinarian immediately.

More than 700 plants have been identified as producing physiologically active or toxic substances in sufficient amounts to cause harmful effects in animals.

For a complete list of toxic plants, including our Christmas favorite, the Poinsettia, click here.

4. Trade Your Plastic Easter Grass For Paper. Plastic Easter grass is an interesting, shiny, crinkly material that cats especially can’t help but want to eat. Materials like this (string, tinsel, yarn, etc.) cause what is called a linear foreign body issue. A linear foreign body is any sting-like object ingested (or partially ingested) that causes gastrointestinal obstruction. You might see the material visible in the mouth or anus along with vomiting or straining to defecate and a painful abdomen. 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.

5. Egg Hunts At Your Discretion. Loud noises, sudden movements by small children and large groups of people can be highly stressful to pets. Your pet may prefer to hang out in a quiet area of the house during the family egg hunt or dinner celebration.

When Easter weekend comes around, don’t forget to make a special Easter basket for your pet with fun treats and new toys so they can still participate in the celebration. Start with a basket and paper grass and add items like healthy treats, new toys and maybe even a new collar/leash.

If your pet does well with crowds and excitement, considering looking for a local doggy egg hunt and enjoy an Easter nose work session. Hunting down treats in Easter eggs is a great game to stimulate the nose and the mind.

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