Many pet owners don’t give a second thought to their pet’s safety on Easter Sunday. And why would you? For many, the holiday is synonymous with fluffy bunnies and baby animals of all shapes and sizes. Yet many of the traditions we hold dear on Easter can easily lead to pet emergencies, if you’re not aware of the risks.
While it’s not necessary to raise the threat level to red (or ‘Easter pink’, for that matter), you should be aware of what dangers your pet may face on this holiday. From chocolate bunnies and Easter lilies to plastic grass, and even Easter eggs, there is ample opportunity for your pet to discover mischief of some sort or another this weekend.
Easter Pet Emergencies Caused by Chocolate and Xylitol
One of the most common causes for pet emergencies over the Easter weekend is chocolate and Xylitol.
The theobromine in chocolate is highly toxic to most animals, especially dogs. Even a small amount can be fatal, depending on the cocoa content and the size of your pet. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is to pets. The effect of chocolate poisoning can range from an upset stomach to cardiac arrest, and is not something to be taken lightly.
Candy and treats containing Xylitol can also be fatally toxic to pets. These treats are often labeled as “sugar-free”, although Xylitol can be found lurking in other treats as well. This sugar substitute can cause pancreatitis, and is often fatal to our four-legged friends, if ingested.
Easter Pet Emergencies Caused by Easter Eggs
Whether you have real dyed-eggs, or plastic eggs, do your best to keep them away from your pets. In moderation, it is safe to peel a hard-boiled egg and feed it to your cat or dog when it is fresh, but do not feed them eggs that are old just to get rid of them.
Eggs rot quickly and can cause intestinal problems, including:
Bloating (which can be fatal for dogs)
The problem with plastic eggs is two fold – the eggs themselves, and the treats hidden inside. In most cases, the eggs can pop open from the press of a paw or a quick bite, resulting in your pet discovering an exciting, but potentially deadly, feast inside.
It’s also possible that your pet may decide to treat the plastic egg as a chew toy, which can result in an internal obstruction, possibly resulting in an emergency surgery. If you suspect your pet has ingested a plastic egg (or the goodies inside), contact your veterinarian for further instructions.
Easter Pet Emergencies Caused by Easter Grass
The colorful grass used as bedding for candy and eggs in Easter basket attracts the attention of cats and dogs, especially those who tend to nibble on the real stuff.
Sadly, plastic grass is a common cause of intestinal blockage around Easter. In severe cases, surgery can be needed to remove the blockage from your pet’s digestive tract.
Make sure you keep all the baskets up out of the reach of your pets, and if possible, switch to pet grass, or a shredded paper grass instead.
A Word About Giving Easter Pets
Little chicks, bunnies, and ducklings are cute and lovable. But, if you plan on giving one to your children as a special Easter gift, be sure you understand that the animal requires a lot of love and care. It is important that the animals have a place to sleep, eat, and roam.
Ducklings and chicks need to be kept warm in the beginning, but grow quickly and will need a place outside before too long. Ducks need a place to swim, but only after they have feathers. Bunnies can be litter trained and make wonderful house pets if given the chance.
As with all animals, you need to be ready to provide Easter pets with a forever home and the care they deserve.
Emergency Pet Care in Baton Rouge, La
While I don’t want you to end up rushing your pet to the veterinarian on Easter Sunday anymore than you do, you can rest assured that if your pet needs emergency veterinary care on a holiday that Sherwood South Animal Hospital and LSU School of Veterinary Medicine are open 24/7 if needed.
Hope you all have a Happy Easter and stay safe!