Watch Tip: Easter Traditions Can Kill Pets

Posted on April 23rd, 2011 by Anna Nirva

Watch Tip LogoWeekly watch tip for the week of April 24:

Easter traditions can kill your pets. Easter lilies, Easter baskets, Easter gatherings—all are dangerous! Keep your pets in closed rooms or crates during parties so they do not get into trouble while you are busy. Remember, an over-stimulated pet can bite or scratch your visitors. IMPORTANT: immediately put your potted lilies and baskets high up and out of reach of inquisitive cats and dogs. Instruct your children to hide their baskets in drawers or closets.

The Pet Poison Helpline is fully-staffed and ready for business this weekend!

It’s too bad that cats and dogs don’t come with “warning” labels! If they did, certainly fewer of them would die during the Easter holidays. Keep this number handy if you have pets and plans for a traditional holiday in your home: 1-800-213-6680. This helpline is staffed by board-certified veterinary internal medicine (DACVIM) and emergency critical care (DACVECC) specialists and costs just $35 per call. Easter dangers include:

  • Easter Lilies are deadly to cats if eaten. Even small pieces of plant leaves and flower petals can cause sudden kidney failure and result in death. Do not grow these plants in your yard if you have cats or wandering cats live nearby: Easter, Tiger, Asiatic, Stargazer, and Day lilies. Emergency veterinary treatment is required to save your cat.
  • Easter grass can be deadly to cats if eaten. Cats will swallow strands of Easter basket grass, string, rubber bands, and thread. (They will even swallow needles.) Long strands of grass or thread or string can wind around the intestines, resulting in blockages that cut off circulation or it can “saw” through and cause death to intestinal tissues. Surgery can save your cat if diagnosis is prompt.
  • Chocolate candies and baked goods are toxic, but did you think only to dogs? Guess again. Chocolate is toxic to cats too.  A chemical found in chocolate and cocoa, theobromine, causes vomiting and diarrhea if eaten in small amounts. If your cat or dog eats a lot of it, seizures and heart arrhythmias will result. Immediate veterinary care is required.
  • Sugarless gum and candies sweetened with xylitol are poisonous to dogs. It causes liver failure within days and death can result.
  • Fatty ham scraps can cause digestive upset and pancreatitis in cats and dogs, leading to abdominal pain, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea.

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