As Easter approaches, some of us may be gathering with family to celebrate- Easter egg hunts, colorful baskets, and lilies – it could mean real trouble for some of our four-legged family members.
In order to ensure your pet’s safety, it is important to review the potential holiday hazards so that your pet remains happy and healthy.
According to the Pet Poison Helpline, there are two main reasons that people call the helpline at this time of year – ingestion of lilies or chocolate.
What Makes Chocolate Toxic to Dogs?
Chocolate contains substances known as methylxanthines (specifically caffeine and theobromine), which dogs are far more sensitive to than people. Different types of chocolate contain varying amounts of methylxanthines. In general, though, the darker and more bitter the chocolate the greater the danger. For instance, 8 ounces (a ½ pound) of milk chocolate may sicken a 50-pound dog, whereas a dog of the same size can be poisoned by as little as 1 ounce of Baker’s chocolate!
Theobromine, an alkaloid chemical primarily found in the cocoa plant, mainly affects the heart, central nervous system, and kidneys. Signs of theobromine poisoning will occur from 4-24 hours following ingestion and will vary depending on the amount of chocolate (theobromine) your dog has eaten. You may see vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, hyperactivity, and seizures.
To view a list of common household items and food containing theobromine as well as a Chocolate Toxicity Meter to let you know how much theobromine and caffeine your dog has consumed and the symptoms that may follow, click here.
Lilies and Cats and Dogs
According to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, ingesting any part of the lily plant can cause complete kidney failure in 36-72 hours. First symptoms appear in a few hours and may include appetite suppression, lethargy, vomiting. Cats are especially sensitive to lily poisoning, so be very careful to keep your cats away from lilies of any kind, including the Amaryllis, Easter lilies, and Stargazer lilies so often found in homes around the holidays. To read about other plants that can be harmful to your pet, click here.
So be vigilant and keep your pets away from sweet Easter delights and beautiful spring flowers.