AIMSS_iStock_000059350762_LargeFor many of us, Easter is wonderful holiday filled with color, candy, food, and family. Unfortunately,  a lapse in your attention could land your curious pet in deep trouble! From chocolate and Xylitol ro Easter grass and Lilies, this holiday is just hopping with opportunities for your pet to find trouble.

Thankfully, your friends at AIMSS have put together some recommendations for best practices in Easter pet safety!

Chocolate Bunnies and Candied Eggs

The two biggest offenders this holiday? Chocolate and Xylitol.

Chocolate, (as in chocolate bunnies, Cadbury eggs, and fondue) contains theobromine and caffeine, both of which are highly toxic – and can even be fatal – to pets. The severity of your pet’s reaction to chocolate often depends on the amount consumed and its color. White and milk chocolates are less potent to pets, whereas dark and baking chocolates can elicit more severe reactions.

Symptoms of chocolate ingestion can include:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Increased thirst
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Panting / Restlessness / Hyperactivity
  • Excessive urination
  • Muscle spasms
  • Seizures (in extreme cases)

If you see your pet consume chocolate – or have a nagging suspicion – please contact us immediately. Time can be crucial in a chocolate emergency.

Xylitol is another serious threat to your pet’s health. Many candies, gums, baked goods and other goodies make use of this artificial sweetener, which is lethal to dogs, even in small amounts (it’s not so great for cats either, but the effects are not quite as severe.

Please refrain from offering or exposing your pet anything sweetened with Xylitol, and seek advanced critical care if you suspect your pet was exposed to this toxic sugar substitute.

Speaking of Obstructions…

On a similar note, your pet may find Easter basket grass highly attractive, but accidental ingestion can result in foreign body obstruction. Like tinsel, yarn, or ribbon, this shiny plastic “grass” may require digital imaging or surgery to correct.

A better, less dangerous version of Easter grass might be catnip or wheatgrass, and we’re sure your pet will thank you for either!

Toxic Plants

A blog about Easter pet safety would be startlingly incomplete without a mention of toxic plants. For a holiday that kind of revolves around spring flowers, please be on the lookout for:

  • Lilies –  Adorning most every church altar, front step, and dining table on this day, lilies are a lovely reminder of spring’s beauty, but they can quickly place your cat on track for kidney failure. Even a small nibble on a petal, or licking pollen off a paw can have devastating consequences.
  • Amaryllis – Have any bulbs just starting to pop up? If so, kindly help your pet avoid this toxic plant at all costs.
  • Cyclamen – These pretty, delicate blooms are also known as Persian violet and are commonly seen this time of year.

For safe flowery alternatives, consult this comprehensive list from the ASPCA.

Easter Pet Safety

Amidst all the fun of the day, it can be a challenge to avoid all the potential accidents your pet could find. Beyond preventing a pet poisoning with sweet treats, it should be said that hardboiled eggs left out after the hunt can cause digestive issues, too.

And, speaking of eating, make sure your pet has access to his or her own delicious meal while you and your guests are enjoying a scrumptious, indulgent (read: fatty) Easter dinner of your own, and refrain from offering table scraps of any kind.

AIMSS is always happy to serve your pet, although we truly hope we don’t see him or her for emergency care this Easter. Please let us know if you need assistance, and above all, have a happy, safe holiday!