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Protecting Your Pets: Common Easter Dangers to Watch Out For!

Easter is quickly creeping up on us, we can taste the chocolatey goodness already with all easter eggs and tasty treats available! We all enjoy a good feed this time of year and a fun easter egg hunt, but it is important to stay aware of the dangers these seasonal foods can have on our furbaby companions.  Today we will highlight some of the hazards that Easter time poses to our pets so you can ensure to enjoy all the food and fun without any dramas or trips to the vet!

Food and drink

1)      Chocolate

With chocolate easter eggs, chocolate rabbits, chocolate cakes, and cookies all in surplus this time of year chocolate toxicity is one of the common presentations we see pets for in the emergency room.   Chocolate is toxic to both cats and dogs, but we most commonly see dogs for this reason, those who have snuck into chocolate stash!

Chocolate contains Theobromine which has similar effects to caffeine. Pets cannot digest theobromine, and ingestion can result in hyperactivity, tremors, panting, vomiting, diarrhoea, irregular and fast heart rates, and in severe cases even seizures.

Dark chocolate and cooking chocolate contain the most theobromine compared to milk or white chocolate making it most toxic even if eaten in small amounts. For small dogs, as little as 5-10g of dark chocolate can cause severe reactions.

It is important to contact your vet for advice if your dog has eaten chocolate, they can help calculate if a toxic dose has been ingested based on your dog's weight, what type and how much chocolate was consumed, from this information the best treatment plan can be recommended.

Top tip! Keep chocolate and chocolate-containing products well out of reach and locked away from pets, it is far too tempting for them to ignore them if it is easily accessed. If you are placing chocolate out for an easter egg hunt, keep a count and note of where they are hidden so all can be accounted for afterwards!

2)      Raisins, sultanas, grapes – (mmm Hot cross buns!)

A warm hot cross bun smothered in butter is hard to resist, and no doubt our pets will think the same, but these products contain toxic grapes in the form of raisins and sultanas. These tiny, dried fruits can cause serious problems despite their small size.

Raisins and sultanas are toxic and are associated with gut problems and acute kidney failure. The toxic compound in grapes is not known, and the toxic dose can vary in each pet that has ingested them, so as few as 2-3 raisins can cause serious side effects in some patients. So, whilst it may seem unnecessary for a vet visit for such a small consumption, it is very important to seek veterinary help if the scenario arises to protect your pet from serious health problems.

3)      Xylitol (sugar-free foods)

Some sweet treats and cakes contain a sweetener sugar alternative called Xylitol which is very toxic to our pets. Consumption of it can cause dangerously low blood glucose levels, acute liver disease, and blood clotting disorders.

4)      Leftover food, food scraps and bones

High-fat foods

Whether you are having a family barbeque or a traditional roast dinner this Easter, be mindful of any table scraps you may offer to your pets as treats. High-fat foods such as ham, cheeses, and fatty meats can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and pancreatitis.

Skewers, cooked bones, and corn cobs

These items can be very tempting for dogs to get hold of and pose a big risk if ingested. Skewers, bones and corn cobs can cause obstruction and perforations of the gut which require surgical intervention to remove.

Cooked bones not only can cause gut problems they can commonly break teeth, and can become lodged in a dog's mouth, oesphageous or trachea causing them to choke.

Onions,  garlic and leeks

Vegetables of the onion family such as leeks, onions and garlic are toxic to dogs if consumed in large amounts and can cause the destruction of red blood cells resulting in anaemia.

Top tip – If you really want to treat your furbaby, then only offer a small amount of the foods they have already been exposed to, and avoid giving them new foods to prevent tummy problems occurring.

Easter toys, decorations, and food wrappers.

New shiny objects and toys can be very appealing to play with to a dog or cat, and these items can become accidentally swallowed. Small toys and parts that break off can pose an obstruction risk and choking can occur. If they are successfully swallowed by your pet, they can then become lodged in the stomach or intestines causing a gastrointestinal blockage which requires emergency surgery.

Toxic plants