Keep pets safe from these Easter dangers

We’re pretty sure your Easter plans do not include going to an emergency pet hospital, but that could change if you don’t keep track of your Easter lilies, chocolate bunnies or even that fake grass inside Easter baskets.

Cute Orange Kitten spilling colorful jellybeans out of a plastic Easter egg isolated on a white background.

All these holiday items seem to fascinate dogs and cats, according to veterinarians at BluePearl Veterinary Partners. Sometimes pets swallow these things and get sick.  And that’s when your trip to the pet hospital begins.

Dr. Mary Ellen Finley said some of these fun and innocent-seeming items can actually kill pets. For example, lilies, including Easter lilies.

“If you have cats, don’t have lilies,” said Finley, a senior clinician in emergency medicine for BluePearl. “They cause acute renal failure and it can just be a small amount.” The problem is, cats are curious and they naturally like to chew on plants – so a new flower is likely to tempt them.

Here are some other things you should know if you have pets and celebrate Easter:

  • Chocolate is harmful to dogs. It can induce vomiting, diarrhea and in extreme cases an increased heart rate and seizures.  And by the way, dogs are even worse than humans at peeling away the armor of foil that encases chocolate Easter eggs and bunnies. A dog’s solution is to wolf down everything, but all that foil could cause a blockage in a dog’s stomach or intestines.
  • Don’t assume that sugar-free sweets are safe for pets, especially if they include xylitol. This sweetener shows up in everything from sugar-free chewing gum to some kinds of reduced-fat peanut butters, and it’s 100 times more toxic to dogs than chocolate.
  • “Pay attention to the plastic grass,” says Finley. This frilly, stringy stuff is just the kind of thing cats like to play with, but it’s not meant to be swallowed. Finley remembers treating one cat who had the stuff wrapped around her tongue and extending down into the intestines.
  • At any big family gathering, someone tends to leave a purse on the floor. Pets treat them like goodie bags, and sometimes gobble down harmful medicines, chewing gum with harmful xylitol, and even e-cigarettes.
  • Also, if family and friends stop over, it’s easy for pets to slip outside. Keep track of them, so they don’t get out and get lost.

If your pet gets sick from one of these mishaps, quickly call your regular family veterinarian for advice.

After hours, go to an emergency clinic such as those operated by BluePearl Veterinary Partners. Most BluePearl hospitals are open around the clock for emergency care, and all are staffed with highly trained veterinarians. Most BluePearl hospitals also offer a wide range of specialty veterinary services that can include cardiology, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology and others.