Pet Toxins

6 Important Tips for Keeping Your Pet Safe During Easter

easter safety for pets

Chocolate bunnies wrapped in gold paper. 

A beautiful bouquet of fresh lilies sitting on the window sill. 

Honey-baked ham with delicious sides spread across the dining room table.

These things are all part of the cherished tradition of the Easter holidays celebrated by households all over the country. However, amidst the festivities, certain items can be potentially dangerous to cats and dogs. In this guide, we will explore important tips and precautions to ensure that your pet stays safe and happy throughout the Easter season.

Tip #1: Beware of Chocolate Treats

Chocolate is a staple treat during Easter, but it can be toxic to our pets. Theobromine and caffeine, found in chocolate, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, seizures, and even death in pets if ingested in large quantities.

Be sure to keep all chocolate products, including candies, cakes, cocoa powder, and decorative chocolates, out of reach of your pets. Educate family members and guests about the dangers of feeding chocolate to pets, and store Easter treats securely in pet-proof containers.

Tip #2: Put Easter Eggs And Candy Out Of Reach

Colorful Easter eggs and candies are attractive to pets, but they can be hazardous if consumed. Plastic eggs, when ingested, may cause GI symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. They may even cause a gastrointestinal blockage where surgery is required (which can be expensive!).

Keep Easter eggs and candies stored safely away from pets, and promptly dispose of any broken or empty eggs to prevent accidental ingestion.

If you’re hosting an Easter egg hunt, have it take place in an area inaccessible to pets, or closely supervise Coco and Fluffy to prevent them from finding and eating these items.

Tip #3: Limit Access to Toxic Plants and Decorations

Many Easter florals, such as lilies, irises, tulips, and hyacinths, are toxic to pets if ingested. Even a small amount of these plants can cause symptoms ranging from mild gastrointestinal upset (vomiting and diarrhea) to severe organ damage or failure.

Cats love playing with stringy things like the artificial green grass they put in Easter baskets. If they swallow a piece, it can cause them to vomit and develop an intestinal blockage that would require surgery. Always keep Easter plants and decorations out of reach of pets, and consider opting for pet-safe alternatives such as artificial plants or non-toxic flowers like roses or orchids.

If you suspect your pet has ingested a toxic plant, immediately contact your veterinarian for guidance and treatment.

easter safety for pets

Tip #4: Don’t Share The Ham (or other fatty foods) With Your Pets

For pork-eaters:

Meat that is high in fat like pork can cause a plethora of problems, namely gastrointestinal upset like vomiting and diarrhea.  Pancreatitis is a common condition that is seen in pets that may ingest the other white meat. If you want to share something with your pet, cooked veggies like plain green beans or carrots are a nice treat.

For nonpork-eaters:

If you don’t eat ham BUT you still partake in other delicious delicacies at Easter mealtime, stay away from sharing dishes high in fat or heavily seasoned. Steamed vegetables like zucchini or plain white rice (boiled) can be offered in small amounts. The last place you want to be is in the pet ER days after the holidays because your pet has an upset tummy from something you gave him.

Other foods like onions, garlic, and macadamia nuts are also toxic to pets and should be avoided.

Tip #5: Attempt To Keep Your Household Low-stress

The hustle and bustle of Easter gatherings can be overwhelming for pets, leading to stress and anxiety.  Provide a quiet, safe space where your pet can retreat when feeling overwhelmed, equipped with their favorite toys, bedding, and water bowl.

Signs of stress in cats include:

Increased vocalizations (yowling, hissing, growling, frequent meowing)

Excessive grooming

Urinating outside of the litter box

Aggression (stalking, biting, scratching, pouncing)

Hiding

Decreased appetite and water intake

Signs of stress in dogs include:

Whining or barking

Panting

Shedding

Changes in body posture (cowering, tucked tail)

Hiding

Consider using pheromone diffusers or calming supplements to help lower your pet’s stress levels. You can even try a calming supplement to promote relaxation. If your pet is super anxious around guests or during noisy festivities, think about confining them to a separate room or using a baby gate to create a barrier between them and the Easter activities.

Bonus Tip! Do Not Give Pets as Gifts

Some people might think it is cute and fun to give bunnies and baby chicks to kids as gifts. These animals require special feeding and care that many families are not equipped to handle. A good number of these animals either die within the first few weeks or are relinquished to a local animal shelter or rescue once the novelty wears off. Stick to giving the kids jelly beans and a stuffed bunny for the holiday.

 

From avoiding toxic foods and plants to providing a stress-free environment, you can be proactive in protecting your furry friend’s well-being. Remember, a little extra care and attention can make all the difference in keeping your pet safe during this joyful holiday season.

For the pets,

Dr. Gina

Dr. Georgina Ushi is a veterinarian and freelance medical writer. She received her Doctorate from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in 2009. She currently works in the Tampa Bay area, providing compassionate care to dogs and cats. Alongside her clinical work, Dr. Ushi consults for pet well-being brands and writes health articles for her blog, Pet Health Love. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge to educate and inspire fellow pet owners. Dr. Ushi’s professional interests include emergency and critical care, wildlife medicine, nutrition, and hospice and palliative care.

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