Easter is the first major holiday of spring, and many of us spend is at large gatherings with friends and family. If you are hosting an Easter celebration this year, or travelling to one with your pets, make sure you consider these four issues regarding Easter and dogs to ensure a safe celebration for all.
A frequent source of poisoning in pets is the consumption of foods that are safe for humans, but dangerous for dogs and cats. The most common problem is chocolate: Dark chocolate is the most dangerous type of chocolate since it contains a large amount of theobromine, a chemical similar to caffeine that can be deadly to dogs and cats. Another common candy ingredient to watch out for is Xylitol, a sweetener commonly found in sugarless gums and candies. It is very dangerous to pets, and can be life-threatening even in very small amounts. Make sure that you keep all human food out of your pet’s reach, especially at holidays or parties when temptation might be in unusual places like an Easter basket on the floor. Instruct your guests (including children) not to share human food like candy with your dog.
Beautiful, seasonal Easter lilies are highly toxic to cats. Eating any part of the plant (petals, leaves, stem or even pollen) can cause severe kidney failure in your cat. Because they are so dangerous even in small amounts, it’s best to not allow these plants in your home if you have a cat. Easter lilies are not poisonous to dogs or people, but if your dog eats a large amount of one of these plants, they may experience vomiting and diarrhea.
The brightly colored plastic grass that is used to decorate Easter baskets and other displays can attract your pet’s attention with its tempting shape and texture. If your cat or dog eats something stringy like Easter grass or holiday tinsel, it can get caught on their tongue or stomach. Pets often have trouble passing Easter grass they have eaten, resulting in a linear foreign body. This complication can cause severe damage to the intestinal tract, and requires treatment in the form of expensive abdominal surgery. Keep Easter grass away from your pet, and see your veterinarian if they do consume any.
Raw eggs are not recommended for most cats and dogs, as there is a chance they could transmit illnesses like salmonella. Cooked eggs and eggshells, however, can be an excellent source of calcium and protein for your pet. For a safe seasonal treat, you can grind eggshells and sprinkle about a half teaspoon into your pet’s regular food. Hardboiled eggs are also safe, and can help your pet build muscle and strengthen their fur and nails.