Easter is a great holiday for spending time with family, but as with most holidays there can be many toxic dangers lurking, posing a risk to our furry family members. Let’s review five top toxins so you can ensure the entire family has a safe and fun day!
- Lilies: Such beautiful flowers, but unfortunately cats can quickly go into acute kidney failure just hours after being exposed. All parts of the plant are toxic- including the petals, leaves, stem, pollen (cats can brush up against the flower and get pollen on their fur and ingest it during grooming), and even the vase-water containing the flowers. Toxic species include Asiatic lilies, Day lilies, Easter lilies, Japanese show lilies, and Tiger lilies. Other species that typically just cause some drooling include Calla lilies, Peace lilies, and Peruvian lilies.
- Plastic grass: Cats ingesting even a single long strand could have gastrointestinal complications requiring emergency surgery. Ingesting any long string can cause the intestines to plicate (bunch-up) and then the string could perforate the intestinal wall causing bacteria to leak into the abdomen. The string could also wrap around the base of the tongue. Dogs may ingest large amounts of plastic grass which could cause a blockage in the stomach or intestines and also require emergency surgery.
- Chocolate: Chocolate contains both caffeine and theobromine, which cause the toxic effects in dogs and cats, and while present in all types of chocolate, they are found in higher amounts in dark chocolate and baker’s chocolate. Clinical signs after ingestion include vomiting, diarrhea, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, and even seizures.
- Xylitol: Gum, sugar-free candy and peanut butter, and even home-baked goods may contain this sweetener. A very small amount (couple of pieces for a medium-sized dog) can cause critically low blood sugar within a few minutes to an hour of ingestion, as well as acute liver failure.
- Raw egg: Pathogenic bacteria are a risk to both you and your pet. Salmonella, a type of bacteria, can live in eggs; on average 1 out of every 20,000 commercially produced eggs are infected. Feeding raw eggs/meat/dairy to your pets can spread bacteria in your house and dogs can harbor the pathogenic bacteria in their mouths for weeks after being feed infected raw food.
Have a safe and happy Easter!