Health hazards for pets during Easter time


If you are planning a big Easter dinner with lots of food, sweets and decorations, keep a close eye on your pets! Changes to your home during the holiday can be a health hazard to your cat or dog.

Veterinary Physician with Shoreline Animal Hospital Dr. Michelle West tells pet owners what to look out for this Easter Sunday.

1) Hidden candy around the house or yard could be a hazard to unsupervised pets. Unfound candy may easily be sniffed out by the family dog.  Easter baskets left on counters or tables can be pulled down by a dog.  Toxicity is due to theobromine which dogs process much more slowly than humans.  It is also toxic to cats but they are less interested in sweets in general.  Toxicity depends on the type of chocolate, the amount eaten and weight of the dog.  Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, seizures and death in severe cases. 

2). Easter lily toxicity is a danger for cats only. Any part of the plant or flower is toxic and can potentially result in kidney failure.  Other toxic Lilies include day, tiger, oriental, and asiatic lilies.  Any lily in the lilium or hemerocallis varieties can be toxic. Peace lilies, Peruvian and calla lilies are much less dangerous and might cause vomiting and drooling.  Lily toxicity, if not treated within 18 hours, carries a poor prognosis. Symptoms may start with vomiting, inappetence, lethargy and then increased water intake and urination.

3). Plastic Easter grass can be ingested by dogs or cats and cause an obstruction in the intestines.  Cats are particularly attracted to thin linear objects.  A better choice for pets and the environment is crinkled paper grass.

4). Xylitol is a sweetener used in sugar free gum and candy.  It causes the pancreas to release more insulin causing a severe drop in the blood sugar which can result in weakness, wobbly gait and seizures.  Xylitol toxicity can also result in liver failure in severe cases.  

5) Table scraps, particularly fatty meats, trimmings, bones or sauces can cause pancreatitis, vomiting and diarrhea in pets. Bones can cause obstructions or fracture teeth.  Dogs that do not routinely eat human food may be particularly sensitive. 

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