Easter can be a fun time with family and friends, but it can sometimes be hazardous for your pet. Following are some of the risks to your pet’s health that they can be exposed to at Easter. Keeping an eye on them and being aware of the risks will help you to keep your pet out of harm’s way, and ensure that everyone has a safe and happy Easter.
Naturally we want to involve our pets in our social activities, but they need boundaries for their own protection. If you’re entertaining guests, make sure that they’re aware of the rules for your pets, especially when it comes to food. Dogs can be more excitable with several extra people around, therefore keep an eye on them to make sure they’re okay. If your pets are more reserved, or if they tire from the holiday activities, be sure they have a safe, quiet, and cool retreat. They should always have access to clean drinking water as well.
Travelling with Pets
If you’re taking pets on car trips there are some things to consider to make sure they have a safe and trouble-free journey. Dogs should not be free to move about the car. They should be placed in a roomy carrier that provides enough space for them to stand and turn around, or they should have a harness that attaches to a seatbelt which will help secure them in case of heaving braking or other sudden movements. Cats should be secured in an appropriate carrier.
Also, dogs shouldn’t have their heads out of the vehicle as high-speed wind is dangerous for their delicate ears, and there’s the risk they could get dirt and dust in their eyes. For this reason and others - including exposure to weather - dogs should never travel in the back of open vehicles such as utes.
Camping with Pets
Dogs can’t accompany us on all holidays, but with a bit of careful planning, camping over Easter is one on which they can. Firstly, make sure that the campsite is pet-friendly. Ensure their flea and tick treatment is up to date, and that they’re microchipped or wearing identification tags.
It’s important to be prepared if something goes wrong, therefore taking a pet first aid kit with you will assist in treating minor injuries, or in the provision of first aid until you can get them to a vet. They can be purchased from pet supply stores and online from St John Ambulance. A leash, tether and stake may be necessary in case they need to be secured, and don’t forget the basics such as food and water bowls, and doggie waste bags.
Most importantly, ensure your dog has safe and appropriate bedding. Their sleeping arrangements should keep them safe from wild animals, and protected from the elements. If possible, they should sleep in a tent with you.
Even though it's a standard Easter treat for us, animals should never be allowed chocolate as it is poisonous to both dogs and cats. Darker chocolate contains more cocoa and is therefore more toxic than milk or white chocolate, but animals should not be allowed any chocolate regardless of its type. This includes chocolate flavoured milk. Plain milk, and other dairy products, should also be avoided due to the lactose intolerance of many animals.
Chocolate poisoning causes vomiting and diarrhoea, and in more severe cases it can cause seizures and death. If your pet is exhibiting hyperactivity, which is an early warning sign of chocolate poisoning, or you suspect that your pet has eaten chocolate, contact your vet immediately.
Easter egg hunts can be a hazard for your pet who might find the treats, and if you’re using real eggs make sure that none are left behind after the hunt. Fresh eggs aren’t a risk but they can go off quickly, and a rotten egg could make your pet very ill.
Hot Cross Buns
Hot cross buns commonly contain sultanas, raisins and currants, which can cause acute kidney failure in dogs. The exact reason for the toxic reaction is unknown, but even small quantities can be fatally toxic. Not all dogs will necessarily suffer kidney failure from eating them, but it can affect dogs of any breed or age.
Symptoms of poisoning include vomiting and diarrhoea – often within a few hours of ingestion, weakness and lethargy, reduced or ceased urine output, tremors, seizure and coma. Ingestion of dried fruit by your dog should be treated as an emergency, and vomiting should be induced if consumed within two hours. Contact your vet immediately for advice if you suspect your dog has eaten them, or a hot cross bun containing them.
Don’t share Easter eggs, chocolate, or hot cross buns with your pets. There are plenty of pet-friendly alternatives they can enjoy this Easter.
Easter lilies (lilium longiflorum), also known in some parts of the world as November or Christmas lilies, are particularly dangerous to cats. These, together with a number of other varieties of lilies, such as Tiger and Oriental lilies, can cause acute kidney failure in cats.
Whether they ingest any of the plant, or lick pollen off their fur or paws while grooming, it can be fatal, and even small amounts are toxic. Despite the beauty and popularity of these flowers it’s safest to keep them out of your home, as the consequences for your cat if poisoned can be devastating.
If you suspect that poisoning has occurred, call us immediately. We will advise you of whether to induce vomiting before bringing your cat to the hospital.
Many people go away for the Easter break and leave their pets in the care of family, friends, or neighbours. It’s important that whoever is minding your pet knows what to do in an emergency and who to contact. If you are out of reach at any time, they should know which vet to take them to in a medical emergency, including after-hours.
Delays in seeking treatment for a pet, because carers don’t know what to do or where to take them, can have disastrous effects on their chances of getting effective and timely treatment.
These are just a few of the potential hazards found at Easter. Knowing your pet’s habits, being vigilant, and taking a few sensible precautions, will help your pet avoid them. As always, if you have any questions or concerns don’t hesitate to get in touch.