April 7, 2012 Easter can be a lot fun for the whole family. Well, most of the family – like other holidays we humans celebrate, some of the decorations and seasonal goodies can become problems for our pets.
Let's start with the Easter basket, brimming with goodies like chocolate bunnies.
Whether you start with the ears or the feet, it's okay for us because our bodies can handle the chocolate. Not so for our pets.
Chocolate contains theobromine which can be toxic especially for dogs, causing digestive problems. In the most serious reactions, it can be fatal. Dark chocolate has more theobromine than milk chocolate, but you shouldn't let your pet have any of it.
Looking past the chocolate, there could be more dangers lurking in that Easter candy, especially anything sweetened with Xylitol.
That's an artificial sweetener often used in gum, candies and some baked goods.
The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center warns that Xylitol can cause systemic reactions in dogs and ferrets that may lead to digestive and neurological problems which could result in seizures, coma, or liver failure.
Be very careful to keep products with Xylitol away from your pet.
Looking past all the chocolate and candy, we see Easter grass, that colorful filler used in Easter baskets.
For some reason, cats especially are fascinated with Easter grass. Maybe it's the way it floats in the air and flutters to the floor, or wiggles with the slightest breeze.
Be careful not to let your cat (or dog) eat Easter grass. Like Christmas tinsel, it can cause deadly digestive problems.
The last thing I'll mention today is the Easter Lily.
The Pet Poison Helpline includes the Lily on its list of top-ten poisonous plants for pets. Be careful to keep your Easter Lilies away from your furry friends.
If you suspect your pet has ingested part of a poisonous plant or chocolate or Xylitol or Easter grass, call your veterinarian immediately. Better yet, protect your pet from access to these threats to their health.
A little extra effort up front can help everyone in the family to have a happy Easter, when you're speaking of pets.