Many pet parents will be celebrating Easter this weekend and spending time at home in isolation with loved ones, hunting for Easter eggs, camping in the backyard and enjoying lots of candy and special meals. Unfortunately, our pets will be hovering around the table along with our children, hoping to pick up an extra treat or two at the same time!
Each year we warn our clients about the dangers the holiday seasons bring. Especially chocolate, but chocolate is not the only human food that can be very dangerous for our pets.
Onions, garlic, macadamia nuts, raisins, grapes and even avocados are other everyday food items that are harmless to people but should NOT be included in the family pet’s diet.
A chemical called alkaloid theobromine is present in chocolate and can also be found in tea and cola drinks, which is bad for our pets. So too are some of the ingredients in other things we like to eat.
For example, onions and garlic contain thiosulphate, which is toxic to dogs and can cause anaemia that leads to the breakdown of red blood cells.
Macadamia nuts also contain a toxic compound that appears to cause muscle weakness in dogs, while raisins and grapes can cause kidney and liver problems, and avocado has been found to cause problems in some dog breeds, especially if they swallow the seed.
The danger with chocolate is that animals such as dogs, cats, parrots and horses cannot effectively metabolise alkaloid theobromine; the chemical can remain in an animal’s bloodstream for many hours and lead to hyperactivity and excessive urination, with the risk of being fatal if not detected and treated.
Depending on the type and amount of chocolate ingested, various problems can occur. White chocolate has the least number of stimulants and baking chocolate has the highest.
Other lollies/candies and wrappers can become lodged in the stomach or cause your pet to choke.
We know it’s tempting when we see those big sad eyes look up at us for a treat, but we must be vigilant at Easter to make sure our pets cannot get access to chocolate and are not offered chocolate by children. If you would like to give your pet a little Easter gift, there are a host of excellent treats on the market they will love. Raw carrots, apples, cooked rice, bananas and strawberries are all healthy and tasty alternatives for family pets, the smallest piece of chocolate is just not worth the risk.
Lilies are a common gift at this time of year. For many, the beautiful trumpet-shaped white flowers symbolise purity, virtue, innocence, hope and life. Cat owners, however, need to be especially careful with these beautiful flowers, because all parts of the lily – including the stems, leaves, petals, stamens and pollen – are poisonous to cats. Even minor exposure (a cat chewing on a leaf or getting pollen on his/her coat or whiskers) can cause severe kidney damage and even be fatal. The same goes for other varieties such as day lilies and tiger lilies.
So far, toxicity has not been reported in dogs.