Lilies and chocolate – Easter can be hazardous for pets
I love Easter with the warming weather, kite flying, birds singing, chocolate eggs and spring flowers. But for our four-legged friends this holiday can be a bit of a hazardous time.
Did you know that Easter lilies, although very beautiful, are lethally toxic to cats? All members of the plant genus Lilium, including Easter lilies, contain a chemical that can damage cat kidneys.
Ingestion of even a small amount of plant material from certain types of lilies is a veterinary emergency for cats and early treatment is essential to a successful outcome.
The problem is that the shape of the petals and stamen are extremely tempting for playful cats. If they get pollen on their paws or coats, their instinct is to lick it off and therefore ingest the toxins. So watch out for these lovely but deadly plants and flowers around your kitty companions. Keep them out of reach of your playful puss.
When it comes to dogs, chocolate is the poison of choice at Easter. Their amazing noses can sniff out the tempting Easter eggs on the sideboard, despite all the pretty packaging and plastic. Dogs will readily eat the chocolate, wrapping and box if given the option.
I treated a memorable Labrador once, who had eaten no less than 12 chocolate Easter eggs, including wrapping, in one sitting. We managed to get him treated quickly and he was fine, with a bit of a tummy ache, but the kids were not impressed at their lack of Easter eggs that year. It always tickled me that his name was Coco.
The amount of chocolate a dog can eat without toxic effects is variable depending on the size and breed of dog and the amount of chocolate consumed. The amount of cocoa is also key, as milk chocolate has less cocoa in it than dark or cooking chocolate. The symptoms range from vomiting and restlessness to full-blown seizures. If you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, call the vet immediately.
The last on the list of our Easter toxins is raisins, which are commonly used in hot crossed buns at this time of year. Raisins (and grapes) can be toxic to dogs, and cats, causing kidney failure.
Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhoea, increased thirst and urination and lethargy and if you see these symptoms, or know your dog has eaten raisins, you should contact the vet.
So have a wonderful Easter holiday but be mindful of these three furbaby toxins and keep your pets safe whilst you fly your kite and enjoy your cod fish cakes.
Lucy Richardson graduated from Edinburgh University in 2005. She started CedarTree Vets in August 2012 with her husband Mark. They live at the practice with their two children, Ray and Stella, and their dog, two cats and two guinea pigs. Dr Lucy is also FEI National Head Veterinarian for Bermuda