From egg hunts to baskets full of candy Easter is a joyous holiday for kids and adults alike, but this fun holiday can be seriously hazardous to your pet's health. It’s important that you’re keeping all hazardous foods and materials out of your pets reach this season, and in order to do that, you need to know what some of the most major hazards are. Down below we’ve listed the top 6 Easter hazards for pets this holiday season.
Chocolate: Everyone knows that chocolate is toxic to pets, especially dogs, but at Easter there is an abundance of chocolate all around. Chocolate contains Theobromine and caffeine, and neither can be metabolized by your pet's body. When ingested in large amounts, these chemicals build up to toxic levels leading to serious illness and even death. Signs of chocolate poisoning can include hyperactivity, diarrhea, vomiting, elevated or abnormal heart rate, and seizures. Dark chocolate and unsweetened bitter chocolate contain the highest levels of the dangerous chemicals, so be extra sure to keep these out of your pets reach.
Xylitol: You’ve probably heard of Xylitol but never realized what it is or how common it is, especially in the foods commonly eater around Easter. Xylitol is a sweetener often found in sugar-free candy, gum, and baked goods. Xylitol is only toxic to dogs, and it rapidly releases insulin into their bloodstream. This can cause an extreme drop in blood sugar, which can lead to liver failure and even death. Signs of Xylitol poisoning include weakness, lethargy, vomiting, and seizures. If you suspect your dog has consumed the chemical, it’s important to contact your nearest emergency vet as soon as possible.
Basket Fillers: Easter basket fillers can be a serious health hazard for your pet. Common fillers like plastic grass and eggs, cellophane and foil wrappings, and small Easter toys can easily be mistaken for toys by pets. If ingested they can obstruct your pet’s digestive system, causing serious issues like gastroenteritis or pancreatitis, and often require surgery to be removed. If you notice signs like vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, dehydration, weight loss and loss of appetite, or bloating, contact your vet right away.
Raisins and Currants: Often found in Easter favorites like hot cross buns, these sweet little morsels are toxic to dogs, especially larger breeds. When eaten, even in small quantities, they can cause acute kidney failure which is debilitating and often fatal. Signs of kidney failure can include vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, constipation, depression, weight loss and lack of appetite, and increased thirst.
Onions and Garlic: Aromatics like onions, garlic, chives and leeks are all members of the allium family and are toxic to dogs as well as cats. These common ingredients are used to flavor a variety of different foods, so avoid giving your pets any table scraps when enjoying Easter dinner. Ingestion of these foods can cause gastroenteritis and hemolytic anemia, but signs of these may not develop until several days after ingestion. Your pet may exhibit symptoms like drooling, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, pale gums, lethargy, increased heart rate, and increased breathing rate.
Fertilizers and Herbicides: During Easter there is an abundance of flowers and plants being tended to, and you may even have your own garden that you prep just for this day. Many of the gardening and outdoor plant care that comes along with this activity involves the use of a variety of fertilizers and herbicides that are toxic to pets. When using these products, ensure that they are stored in safe locations where pets cannot puncture or chew the bottle. It’s also important to keep your pet indoors when applying these products and to not let them near the area where the product has been used until it has fully dried.