As many families prepare to celebrate Easter this weekend, it’s important to keep in mind that this spring holiday may pose potential hazards for our furry friends. Before you hide eggs in your yard and decorate your home, please read this list of the top four most common Easter Dangers, presented by the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC).
1. Chocolate. The APCC receives several calls each day regarding pets eating chocolate, but most of those exposures occur around four holidays: Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's Day and Easter. Chocolate can cause gastrointestinal upset, pancreatitis, stimulation to the nervous system (hyperactivity, tremors and seizures) and elevation in heart rate. Not all chocolate is created equally—the darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is for pets. Other ingredients to keep out of your pet’s reach include raisins, macadamia nuts, xylitol and alcohol.
2. Plastic Easter Grass. Pets cannot absorb plastic Easter grass into their bodies, which means that it can become lodged in the gastrointestinal tract and wreak havoc if consumed. Signs for concern include vomiting, diarrhea, decrease in appetite, lethargy and stomach pain.
3. Plants. Many plants can cause issues for pets, but during this time of year, the APCC sees an uptick in calls about Lilies and bulbs that bloom in spring. Lilies (Lilium sp and Hemerocallis sp) can cause serious concerns for our feline friends. Exposure to any parts of the plant can result in kidney injury and gastrointestinal upset.
4. Fertilizers and Herbicides. Many people begin gardening and yard work on Easter weekend, including the use of fertilizers and herbicides. Make sure these are stored where pets can't chew or puncture the bottle, and keep pets indoors while applying the products. Always follow label instructions and wait to let your pet out again until the product has been watered in or the ground is dry.