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Easter brings hidden hazards for pets

PARAMUS, NJ — Easter is a meaningful holiday for millions of Americans and also a time to celebrate family and the coming of spring.  But it also creates opportunities for the family pet to be inadvertently exposed to dangers both in and out of the house.

The doctors at BluePearl Veterinary Partners in Paramus, NJ want to warn pet families of these dangers and ways to avoid them. “By being mindful and taking a few precautions, you can ensure a happier holiday for all members of the household,” said Dr. Ben Davidson, a BluePearl medical director and board-certified critical care and emergency veterinarian.

Here are a few of the potential pitfalls:

  • Chocolate

Chocolate of all kinds is toxic to dogs. Whether a dog will show signs of toxicity following ingestion will depend on the type of chocolate, the amount eaten and the weight of the dog. If your dog eats any amount of chocolate, we recommend you contact your family veterinarian.

Chocolate should be stored in a safe place, high enough so that your dog can’t reach it. Chocolate should never be left on counters or on the floor.

  • Lilies

True lilies (with the Latin name starting with Lilium) or daylilies (Hemerocallis) can cause acute kidney failure in cats. BluePearl strongly discourages cat owners from having these plants in the house. All parts of the plant are toxic, including the leaves, petals and pollen. If you suspect your feline family member has been exposed, please call your primary or emergency veterinarian without delay — early treatment can be life-saving.  BluePearl hospital in Paramus is open 24/7, including on Easter Sunday, with veterinarians always on hand.

  • Table food

Easter is a time to gather family and friends together and because of this food is commonly left on counters or tables that can be accessed by your pet. Foods such as onions, garlic, grapes, raisin and macadamia nuts, are toxic and cause serious illness. Other foods can cause irritation to the stomach and intestines leading to vomiting and diarrhea and some high fat foods can cause pancreatitis. Please ensure your pet cannot access “human foods” and encourage your guests to not feed your pet. If your pet does ingest a food on this list, please contact your family veterinarian for advice.

  • Easter grass

This long, plastic Easter basket filler can be lethal to your cat or dog. The string-like nature of this material causes it to lodge in the small intestines leading to obstruction and sometimes perforation of the intestine. Signs of obstruction include decreased appetite, lethargy and vomiting. If any of these signs are seen, please call your primary veterinarian. They may recommend that your pet have an X-ray or an ultrasound performed.  Either avoid this material as a basket filler or if it is used, ensure that all strands are picked up off the floor. A curious cat will easily find it and ingest it.

All of the staff at BluePearl wish you and your family a safe and happy Easter.