Whilst Brits will be revelling in the abundance of Easter treats throughout this weekend – it’s important to be aware of the dangers that they could pose to the nation’s pets.
Vets Now, the leading provider of emergency veterinary care for pets in the UK, has noted that after Christmas, Easter is the busiest time of year for vets dealing with instances of chocolate poisoning.
The tasty human treat contains theobromine which if eaten by dogs can seriously affect the heart, central nervous systems and kidneys.
Symptoms can occur anywhere between four and twenty-four hours after a pet has consumed chocolate and can include vomiting, diarrhoea, breathlessness and even seizures.
Dogs will react differently depending on how much theobromine they have ingested, so if a pet is acting abnormally in anyway, it’s always best to seek immediate veterinary help.
Although dogs are most at risk from poisoning – it is best to keep any kind of domestic pet away from chocolate.
Along with chocolate eggs, hot cross buns are a definite no-no when it comes to giving pets an Easter treat this weekend.
The raisins contained within these sweet snacks are also toxic for dogs, and can produce serious consequences if consumed.
Dogs of any age, breed or gender can be affected by raisin/grape toxicity and in some cases can suffer from acute kidney failure if these foods are ingested.
Evidence of raisin/grape toxicity can be as obvious as vomiting and diarrhoea, but signs of poisoning can also bring symptoms such as difficulty in urinating or a pet being unusually tired or quiet.
Owners who suspect their pet has eaten grapes or raisins should not wait for signs or symptoms to appear before they contact a vet, to ensure treatment can be given, before the toxins in the fruit can be absorbed.
With pet emergency hospitals in Glasgow and Swindon and 51 emergency clinics, Vets Now is committed to delivering a responsive out-of-hours and critical care service for cats, dogs and other domestic pets.
Chairman Richard Dixon said:
“Easter is a great time to indulge with our families and for many of us that includes our pets.
“Whilst it is a time for fun, the foods that we enjoy can present a real danger to our pets. It’s important to be aware of what they are eating at all times so that we can ensure they come to no harm.
“Do not share your chocolate eggs or hot cross buns with your dog or any other pet – there are lots of pet friendly alternatives available that they can enjoy this Easter.”
“Chocolate, and the raisins in hot cross buns, can present a real danger to the health of our pets so it is important for owners to be extra vigilant at this time and contact their vet as quickly as possible if they notice any abnormal behaviour.”
MORE TH>N WARNS OF THE DANGERS OF POISONOUS SPRING PLANTS TO PETS
• MORE TH>N warns of toxic dangers that flowers such as daffodils, tulips and lilies can pose to dogs and cats this Easter
• Dogs are at increased risk of poisoning when walked in forests, woodland and parks
• 78% of British gardens include plants that are toxic to cats and dogs
As Easter approaches, the variety of bright spring flowers continue to bloom in forests, parks and gardens all over the UK. However, while colourful springtime flora such as daffodils, tulips and lilies that are a delight to the eye, they can also prove deadly to cats and dogs.
According to findings from MORE TH>N, over three quarters (78%) of Britain’s gardens contain plants that are toxic to cats and dogs. With such a large proportion containing toxic plants it’s perhaps no surprise that almost 10% of cats and dogs have fallen ill after ingesting dangerous plant life. Of those, 43% subsequently needed urgent veterinary care, while 15% sadly passed away.
Popular spring plants and flowers that can be dangerous to pets include:
Daffodils: Ingestion of the bulb, plant or flower can cause severe vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and even possible cardiac problems. Daffodils can be dangerous for both cats and dogs.
Tulips: The main toxicity of tulips is found in the bulbs – so make sure your dog isn’t digging up the garden. When ingested it can result in irritation to the mouth and oesophagus. Typical signs of poisoning include drooling, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Lilies: there are many varieties of lily and not all are dangerous to pets. Peace and Calla lily can cause minor complications when ingested, such as irritation to the mouth. However, the likes of Tiger, Asiatic and Easter lilies can be highly toxic to cats, with the ingestion of even small amounts of the plant potentially resulting in kidney failure.
Crocus: the spring Crocus variety can cause general gastrointestinal upset including vomiting and diarrhoea.
Lily of the Valley: this plant can cause symptoms similar to foxglove when ingested by pets, including vomiting, erratic heart rate and diarrhoea.
Despite the clear and present dangers, there is a widespread ignorance of the perils plant life can pose to animals, with one in every three pet owners (31%) admitting they have no idea if the plants in their gardens are toxic. The same number were unaware that plants could be poisonous to pets, while 71% of all pet owners cannot identify any of the symptoms of poisoning in their cat or dog.
Last year former wrestler and Hollywood actor Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s dog tragically died after ingesting poisonous wild mushrooms. This was a high-profile reminder to pet owners of the dangers that plants, flowers and fungi can pose to pets. Dogs in particular face a heightened risk of poisoning when walked in Britain’s many forests and parks.
The findings form part of MORE TH>N’s ongoing Pet Safe campaign, designed to raise awareness of the issue of cats and dogs being poisoned by plants in gardens, parks and open spaces abundant in plant life and fungi.
As part of the campaign MORE TH>N is directly calling on plant producers, manufacturers of garden products and retailers to provide clearer labelling to help pet owners easily identify if items are safe or harmful to cats and dogs – something that 86% of cat and dog owners would like to see.
To date, over 30 Members of Parliament have supported MORE TH>N’s aims for clearer labelling. For more information on this campaign petition please visit https://www.change.org/p/uk-government-protect-our-pets-through-clearer-labelling-of-plants-flowers-and-seeds
George Lewis, Head of Pet Insurance at MORE TH>N, commented:
“Daffodils and other flowers are often the first sign that spring has sprung and the that winter is well and truly behind us. However, these colourful examples of blossoming flora that pop up in our parks, gardens and countryside should also serve as a clear warning sign to pet owners. Whether you’re walking your dog in the park or planting bulbs in the garden, we would urge pet owners everywhere to take the appropriate steps to ensure their cats and dogs are safe from ingesting poisonous spring plant life and falling seriously ill.”