EASTER is almost here and while that can be an exciting time for people, it’s a hazardous time for pets lured by chocolate and other Easter treats.
PETstock veterinarian Dr Rod Sharpin said pet parents should be aware of the dangers associated with feeding pets chocolate and other toxic foods during their celebrations.
“Easter is a time for family gatherings, food and festivities and the age-old favourite Easter egg hunt,” he said.
“As a pet parent, it can be very tempting to sneak our furry family members some chocolate eggs or even a hot cross bun.
“Although delicious to humans, chocolate, along with a variety of food and drinks popular at Easter, can be extremely dangerous and potentially life-threatening to animals.”
The danger is in cacao, which contains the compound theobromine, which is highly toxic to cats and dogs, even in small quantities.
“Symptoms of toxicity, which range from vomiting and diarrhoea to rapid breathing and seizures, will usually occur within a few hours, but the effects can last days or longer, depending on the amount of chocolate that has been eaten,” Sharpin said.
“Grapes (and the raisins found in hot cross buns) are toxic to dogs and cats, with the potential to cause kidney failure. Onions, leeks and garlic also contain toxins that can make your dog or cat seriously ill.”
Dr Sharpin’s 6 Easter Pet Tips
1) Do not feed your pets toxic foods and drinks including chocolate, caffeine or alcohol. Don’t forget to remind your children and guests of the dangers.
2) Keep chocolate out of reach and avoid hiding Easter eggs close to the ground if your dog or cat is around.
3) Keep your pet, especially cats, away from Easter lilies, which are highly poisonous and can even cause severe kidney failure.
4) Keep your pet away from Easter grass (the fake grass that often accompanies Easter baskets) as when ingested it can become anchored around the base of the tongue or stomach, often requiring expensive abdominal surgery.
5) Easter ornaments, while they aren’t technically a food, can also pose a health hazard. Always keep an eye on your pets around the Easter decorations and try placing pet-alluring decor in high places, safely out of reach.
6) Carrot sticks, de-seeded watermelons, green beans, cucumber, pumpkin and zucchini are safe snack options for pets this Easter.