I think Easter is extra fun just because everyone needs a little rebirth after the cold, bleak season. Winter can be harsh on our psyches and the promise of summer just makes everything better. In order to keep your future bright, lets review possible dangers that crop up around Easter so we can dance around them while we hunt for eggs and other goodies!
Two most important rules ever:
No Easter Lilies!
All parts of this plant are toxic to cats, even the pollen. It’s not too great for dogs either. Get yourself a nice big picture of them or just forget them all together. There is no counter agent, no antidote, so all we can do is hospitalize with fluids to flush the system (kidneys), treat the symptoms and hope for the best.
Animals are NOT GIFTS!
If you’re set on getting a rabbit or chick, fantastic! Do your research to find out how to care for your new friend and get all your supplies ready. Then go to a shelter three weeks after Easter. There will be plenty of pets that were given as gifts that just didn’t work out and they will need homes. Real homes that will take them in and love them. Forever homes.
Want a friend to have one? Surprise them by taking them with you to get it and let them choose the one that’s just right for them, or decline the responsibility of a tiny life.
When in doubt… Get a stuffed rabbit! Cute and cuddly forever without needing to be fed or has sharp claws.
Other Important Dangers
Plastic Easter Grass
The only option used to be was plastic and plastic does not do well in the stomach. Usually pets ingest the grass going for the candy or eggs on top of the grass, but sometimes the grass itself is a fun toy and treat. Steer clear of plastic! A blockage is better than a linear Foreign Body and both are quite possible when Easter Grass is available. What’s a blockage? Everything your pet eats gets to the stomach, but the wad of plastic won’t let it out! So the stomach grows, and grows and your pet gets sicker and sicker. Boo!! What’s a linear foreign body? Well, if part of that grass gets stuck around the tongue or in the stomach while the rest travels down the intestinal track, the intestines can’t move the grass so they just get scrunched up and lacerated. OUCH! And quite deadly too.
There are a wide selection of paper grasses now that can still block things up if too much is ingested, but at least it is digestible! Use paper grass if you must have grass in your Easter baskets. Colorful tissue paper works just as well though, or none at all and just stuff that basket full of fun toys or treats to distract from a grass-less bucket.
Heck, how about a real grass basket for your cat? It might take a bit of time and creativity, but it might just be the coolest Easter Basket of all time!
Plastic Easter Eggs
I know I already said no plastic, but let me go on and on about it. Watching your cat bat these around can be very entertaining for everyone. You may even want to hide treats in them and let your dog hunt for eggs with you!
But dogs chewing on them can lacerate their mouths and if they swallow… Lacerations all along the esophagus and a blockage to boot. Oh my! Watch your pet around these at all times. When in doubt, put them in a secure, safe place while the egg hunt is going on.
Theobromine and Caffeine are the chemicals in Chocolate that make it so dangerous for our furry friends. Cats can’t taste sweet things so they aren’t as drawn to chocolate as our doggy friends, but the bright Easter colors might make it a fun toy to bite into. Keep chocolate out of reach!
If the worst should happen, find out what type of chocolate was ingested (dark, milk, bakers, etc) and an estimate of how much and then contact your veterinarian for assistance or go to the PetMD site to see how much of an emergency you’ve got on your hands.
Without butter, salt or any other additions, boiled eggs aren’t bad for your pet. Just make sure they don’t eat too much. Like one or two a week, tops. Boiled or scrambled eggs can actually help settle stomachs and is a nice bland high protein treat. So go ahead and share a little of your boiled eggs.
Cooked food is always better. Salmonella isn’t very much fun at all… Boil your eggs, scramble them, bake them… whatever. Just don’t use any salt, butter or seasonings and a little bit of cooked egg can be a great treat to share with your pet. (and I do stress a little bit.)
If your pet drinks up the egg dyes its usually not a bad thing. Most dyes are just going to make bathroom trips rather interesting. Just make sure to read the label before you bring it home and make sure any dye you are using is non-toxic and if you paint eggs with real paint, used good ventilation away from your pets.
Pets can be like toddlers at time so watch out. Those eggs with little toys in them instead of candy can be a welcomed change to the sugar fest that usually marks this time of year but make sure you keep an eye on all the tiny things. It would make a blockage surgery entertaining, but let your vet have a nice relaxing holiday as well and make sure your pets aren’t playing with any small toy without supervision.
Ham, Lamb and Fatty Food
Okay, so it is really fun to say… Ham… Lam… Ham… Lam.
What isn’t funny? Pancreatitis. We see a lot of very sick pets after holidays because their big, sweet eyes sucker their owners into giving them table scraps. Don’t give in! Find a treat they like that isn’t going to potentially hospitalize them and give them that instead.
Human Foods = Danger
Many of our foods, like alcohol, some nuts, garlic, onions, chives and leaks are very dangerous for out pets. Check out ASPCA’s toxic list or better yet, just say no and only use food and limited ingredient pet treats. Holidays are the perfect time for extra treats. Just don’t make a habit of it.
Fertilizers and Pesticides
Garden season is coming up fast! Easter usually marks the end of the deep freeze and the beginning of garden season. It really is great to get your hands in the dirt, clean out those flower and vegetable gardens and beautify after the chilly gray days. Just remember, your pet may enjoy it too. If your pet is one of those that love gardening, make sure you enjoy it by yourself and leave no fertilizers or pesticides where your pet might ingest them by direct contact or licking it off of dirty paws.
New things in the house and interesting and attractive to your pets. They will want to put their noses in everything. Keep an eye on things and enjoy yourself. A little precaution can save your holiday from an unexpected trip to the ER.