The Easter period can be fun and exciting for families, especially kids, however this time of year can pose some dangers to pets. When decorating, baking and preparing for an Easter egg hunt, pet owners should familiarise themselves with some potential Easter hazards.
Why is chocolate bad for cat and dogs?
Chocolate contains caffeine which increases heart rate, and something called theobromine which dogs and cats struggle to metabolize – the longer it takes to work through their system, the more toxins build up. This is what can lead to internal bleeding, seizures and even heart attacks.
The theobromine is found in the cocoa bean so the darker the chocolate, the worse it is for your pet. This doesn’t mean white chocolate is fine, it still contains theobromine and they should never eat it.
Luckily, cats don’t usually seem as keen on chocolate as dogs do, they’re more likely to be interested in playing with the wrapper than the chocolate itself.
How much chocolate is too much for a dog?
Usually, the amount of chocolate a dog can tolerate will depend on:
- how much they’ve eaten
- how old they are
- how large they are
- how pure the chocolate was
A larger fully grown young dog who has accidentally eaten a small bite of milk chocolate will probably just have a bit of a stomach ache.
You should never ever take the chance though if you’re worried always give your vet a call and they’ll be able to offer specific advice.
What should I do if my dog’s eaten chocolate?
Chocolate consumption in dogs can produce anything from mild flatulence through to vomiting, diarrhoea, and increased heart rate – if you notice any symptoms the first thing you should do is call your vet. It can take up to 12 hours for any symptoms to show.
It’s especially important you remain calm even if you’re very worried, your dog will pick up on your anxiety which will increase their heart rate further. Talk to them in your normal voice to help convince them everything’s fine.
Your vet will tell you if you need to bring your dog in or whether you just need to keep a close eye on them. You should never try to induce vomiting in your dog yourself.
How do I stop my dog eating chocolate?
Your dog’s nose is more sensitive than you’ll ever appreciate which is why you should never take the chance. Always keep chocolate out of their reach. Teach your children to never let your dog have any of their chocolate or lick their fingers when they’re eating it.
The ‘leave it’ command can be your best friend in these situations. Most dogs have an instinctual desire to please their owners, you’re their alpha and following a command gives them a sense of purpose within the pack. Once they’ve mastered the ‘leave it’ command, it should stop them if they’ve picked up something they shouldn’t – or at least make them pause long enough to give you a chance to get to them.
Can my dog eat hot cross buns?
No! Grapes are extremely toxic to cats and dogs and although scientists aren’t entirely sure why, they do agree that dried grapes are even more toxic to our pets. This means currents, sultanas and raisins could result in kidney failure in your pet.
Unlike chocolate, it’s not a case of size or quantity eaten. There have been cases of a single grape killing an 80kg Great Dane and a 2kg Yorkshire Terrier surviving, as there’s no definitive answer to why they’re so bad for dogs, you should never let your pet have any.
If you’re making your hot cross buns from scratch, make sure your dogs are never left near your proving dough. The yeast causing your dough to rise can cause your dog a lot of discomfort is they eat it. The gases can cause their stomach to bloat and even twist in extreme circumstances which often results in emergency surgery.
What Easter foods can my dog eat?
If you’re planning on cooking an Easter roast, there’s plenty of food you can treat your dog with. A tasty piece of raw carrot would give them something to sink their teeth into and many green vegetables are perfectly healthy for your pet too. Just remember, too many cruciferous vegetables can have the same unfortunate gastral side effects in dogs as well as humans!
What flowers are poisonous to cats and dogs?
- It’s common knowledge that lilies are toxic to cats, but did you know just brushing up against the flower can do damage? You might think your cat has enough common sense to not eat something poisonous but have you ever noticed how easily the pollen falls from lilies? The huge leaves on this flower mean that just walking too close to a vase could be enough to leave your cat seriously ill. Given how meticulous most cats are about their grooming, the pollen can easily be ingested which can lead to kidney failure.
- Many species of lily can also be toxic to dogs.
- Irises and chrysanthemums are also very popular in flower arrangements this time of year, these can be poisonous to cats too so it’s best you avoid having them in your home.
- Daffodils may be an iconic springtime staple but the flower, leaves and the bulb can be very toxic to cats and dogs. Luckily the most poisonous part of the daffodil is the bulb and it tastes very bitter so not many pets will be looking to eat them. But if you’ve got a very playful pup and your bulbs aren’t buried very deeply, make sure they’re not dug up to double as a toy to chase across the garden.
- Fruit and vegetables plants
- Some outdoor plants have leaves which can be an irritant, tomatoes plants, strawberries, marrow etc can produce hay fever like symptoms in cats like sneezing, drooling or sore eyes.
Prevention is always better than cure. Some basic training and safety can do 99% of the work when it comes to keeping your pet safe.
If you’re ever worried your cat or dog has ingested anything poisonous or toxic you should always phone your vet. If you can, make a note of what they’ve eaten, when and how much and try to remain as calm as possible around your pet.