It’s finally spring – and with that comes Easter. Warm breezes are replacing the chilly winds of winter, and we’re getting ready for the Easter holiday. Below are some Easter safety tips for your pets that will allow you to enjoy the season while keeping your furry companions safe.
NOTE: Dietary comments below are meant for healthy animals only. If your dog or cat suffers from a medical condition, please check with your vet before offering treats.
CATS – SOME EASTER SAFETY TIPS
These traditional Easter flowers are poisonous to cats – even in very small doses. Merely licking the pollen from a lily off its fur can cause vomiting, lack of appetite, and lethargy. Kidney damage can occur rapidly if not promptly treated. So, please, leave the Easter lilies in the store and bring in some of the plastic or silk variety to brighten your home.
Cats CAN eat hard-boiled eggs, peeled, of course. As long as the eggs are completely cooked, an occasional hard-boiled egg adds protein and variety to your cat’s diet. Be aware, though, that eggs are relatively high-calorie, so don’t let your cat overindulge. Still, a treat of an Easter hard-boiled egg can add some interest to your cat’s diet.
If your family traditionally has lamb for Easter dinner, here’s some good news. You can share a bit of your lamb (unseasoned and cooked, of course) with your favorite feline. Lamb is high in B12, amino acid, riboflavin, and niacin – all of which are very healthy for kitty. Let her enjoy some of the holiday feast this year!
There are conflicting opinions on this one. Don’t add seasoning to ham given to your cat. Second, the astronomically high level of sodium in most hams makes this treat not particularly healthy for him. Ham is also high in fat. Still, most vets think that a very occasional bite of ham is not dangerous for a healthy cat, and can be used as a special treat on a holiday.
A sweet treat for humans, chocolate – whether in egg or bunny form – is a definite NO. Chocolate is toxic to cats, and most won’t eat it willingly. However, some will do so if you insist. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include tremors, and seizures which can lead to death. So keep those candy treats in containers out of kitty’s reach.
BUNNIES AND CHICKS
Bunnies and chicks. Please don’t purchase small bunnies and chicks at Easter. Especially not the ones which have been dyed, a practice which turn living creatures into disposable toys. Of course, bunnies and chicks are natural prey for a cat, so the experience, beyond often ending in abandonment, is likely to end in death for your new pets. Instead, pick up a chicken or bunny shaped toy for your feline – one stuffed with catnip – and watch your furry friend enjoy!
EASTER SAFETY FOR DOGS
Although lilies are not quite as toxic to dogs as to cats, they are still poisonous. If you have dogs, it is best to keep lilies out of your house, and out of any part of your yard that your unattended pet can access. Symptoms of lily poisoning in dogs include kidney failure, liver failure, and, untreated, death. Read about some other toxic plants that can poison your animals here.
Like cats, hard-boiled eggs in moderation are good for dogs. They are often used to settle the stomach when your pup has a touch of indigestion. They are relatively high in calories, so, if you add one to your dog’s diet, make sure you cut down on the quantity of his normal food that day. You don’t want your pup going into spring and summer with a bunch of extra weight!
Dogs can absolutely eat lamb (cooked thoroughly and unseasoned). As a matter of fact, many of the high-end brands of dog food use lamb as a base. Although many people say that a dog can chew on a large uncooked lamb bone, other vets worry about the possibility of choking or ingesting sharp pieces of bone causing gastrointestinal symptoms which may become serious. Err on the side of caution – give your buddy some cooked lamb as a treat with her dinner, and throw the bones away.
No is the safest answer. Dogs who eat high-sodium foods can drink too much water to compensate and end up with life-threatening bloat. (As an owner who had to rush my dog to the vet at midnight for bloat – she ended up in emergency surgery – I can assure you that you do not want your pet to suffer from the condition.) An occasional small bite of ham, for a teeny treat at Easter, is likely not an issue, but steer clear of giving a lot or making ham a regular part of your dog’s diet.
As with cats – this is a definite NO. Unlike cats, dogs will eat chocolate if offered, and sometimes sneak it off the table when no one is looking. If you have chocolate rabbits, eggs, or other shapes of chocolate in the house for Easter, make sure they are never left where your pet can reach them.
BUNNIES AND CHICKS
Bunnies and chicks. Again, don’t. These animals are not toys, but living creatures. As with cats, buy your canine friend a toy or two for the holiday and sit back and enjoy.
AN EXTRA NOTE
The artificial grass that is included in many Easter baskets is very dangerous if your cat or dog eats it. Cats are attracted to noisy, brightly colored playthings. If you have Easter baskets for your little ones, make sure your unattended pets can’t reach them. Don’t turn a happy holiday into an emergency vet visit!
Easter is a great time for the little ones to go on an egg hunt, fly a kite, and enjoy the first warmer days of spring. As with any holiday, we all want to include our four-legged family members in the festivities. I hope the above Easter safety tips for your pets will give you some ideas about how to make this a fun holiday for ALL your family members!
Photo of crafted bunnies and chicks by Sebastian Staines on Unsplash
Image of funny face Easter eggs by annca-1564471 on Pixabay
Image of brown Easter eggs by Alexas_Fotos-686414 on Pixabay
Image of Australian Shepherds by Spiritze-3079232 on Pixabay