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Easter safety alert: Protect your pets from toxic treats and hidden dangers

A few things to keep in mind this holiday long weekend.
Be sure to have your pet out of the room if the Easter Bunny makes its rounds.

Easter means chocolate bunnies, hidden treats, family dinners and lots of activity. Make sure your pets stay safe amid all the hoopla.

First and foremost, be sure they do not ingest anything that can harm them. Chocolate is toxic to pets — the darker the chocolate the more dangerous it is — but many candies and treats also contain xylitol, which can lead to potentially fatal drops in blood sugar in pets (it’s safe for humans).

It’s fun for the kids to search behind couches and under tables for hidden treasures — but most pets have even keener skills than their two-legged sibs at finding things. Make sure pets are out of the room after the Easter bunny makes the rounds — and adults should do a sweep of the place after the kids think they have exhausted all the booty.

The most obvious signs that a pet has ingested chocolate include gastrointestinal upset, hyperactivity, tremors and seizures. Xylitol can cause lethargy, hypoglycemia, vomiting, yellow mucus membranes, black stool, loss of coordination, collapse and seizures. Get your pet to a vet immediately.

The fluff or filler that goes in the Easter baskets is especially dangerous to cats, dogs and others, who may be attracted to the scent of food on it. It is a choking hazard and can cause serious gastro issues.

Come dinner time, be careful (as always) with turkey or ham bones. Poultry bones are highly dangerous, because they splinter and can do great harm. But beef, ham and other bones can also splinter. Onions and garlic can cause red blood cell damage.

Easter can also be a time when we turn our attentions to indoor and outdoor plants. Easter lilies (and other flowering plants) are welcome springtime additions to the home, but lilies and some other plants are very dangerous to cats, especially their kidneys and tummies. 

While it is the Victoria Day weekend that is the traditional start of gardening season in Canada, some folks use the Easter long weekend to get out in the yard and start prepping the lawn and garden beds. If you are fertilizing your lawn, be sure to keep pets indoors for a couple of days (read the label or Google about pet safety around each product).

The comings and goings of guests can agitate pets and the opening and closing of doors can give indoor pets a chance to explore the (dangerous) outdoors. Be extra careful.

We hate to be Debbie Downers, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry. A little prep and caution can prevent a lot of heartbreak. 

Have a happy, healthy and safe Easter long weekend!