March 2015 – Holiday Caution for People and Pets
Spring has sprung, and with it brings flowers and spring holidays such as Easter and Passover. But as with any holiday, additional guests in the house, special dinners and treats warrant extra caution with regard to your pets.
Cats and dogs can experience heightened anxiety when routines suddenly change and new people enter the home. Pay particular attention to children and their interaction with your pets. If you don’t have the time to properly introduce the pet to the child and supervise their interaction, simply offer your pet a safe and secure place away from the people and activity.
Easter lilies are particularly dangerous to cats this time of year. While beautiful and often included in flower arrangements as gifts, any piece of the plant ingested by a cat can be fatal – the petals, the leaves, the stem and even the pollen. Cats that ingest as few as one or two leaves, or even a small amount of pollen while grooming their fur, can suffer severe kidney failure, and symptoms begin within 6-12 hours of exposure. Please use caution and don’t subject your beloved cat to this horrible outcome.
And it’s not just Easter lilies that are the problem. Many types of lilies are a toxic threat to cats, so it’s best to keep your home free of these plants entirely and inspect any flower arrangement that comes your way during the holidays.
Don’t forget the candies and treats on beds of fake “grass.” Typical Easter Baskets are filled with fake grass that dogs and cats are often drawn to and can easily ingest. The down side is this fake grass can become anchored around the base of the pet’s tongue or stomach, rendering it unable to pass through the intestines. It can result in a linear foreign body and cause severe damage to the intestinal tract, often requiring abdominal surgery.
Then there is the candy itself. Chocolate abounds at Easter time. Pet Poison Helpline reports that calls concerning dogs that have been poisoned by chocolate increase by nearly 200 percent during the Easter holiday. Please keep chocolate candy in any form away from pets. The chemical toxicity in chocolate is due to methylxanthines (a relative of caffeine) and results in vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, an abnormal heart rhythm, seizures, and possible death.
As always, better safe than sorry.
Belle Mead Animal Hospital, Your Other Family Doctors