Simple ways to ensure your beloved pets remain happy and healthy this Easter

Mar 27, 2024
As Easter nears, the excitement of chocolate treats and celebrations fills the air, yet for our pets, it can pose hidden risks. Source: Getty Images.

As Easter approaches, pet owners across the country are being urged to take extra precautions regarding their pets’ diet.

While the allure of chocolate bunnies, Easter egg hunts, and hot cross buns may be irresistible to many this season, these delights can spell danger for our cherished four-legged companions.

In light of this, RSPCA Victoria is issuing an important warning about the hazards of tempting treats this Easter, identifying chocolate and hot cross buns as harmful to both cats and dogs and Easter Lilies as toxic specifically to cats.

Dr. Bronwyn Oke, Chief Veterinarian at RSPCA Victoria, stresses the critical importance of keeping these treats and plants inaccessible to pets.

“Chocolate and fruits like grapes, sultanas and raisins can cause serious health issues for pets,” Dr Oke warned.

“Human chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, both of which are toxic for dogs and cats, while fruit like grapes, sultanas and raisins can cause kidney failure.

“It’s important to take all incidents seriously, particularly if you’re not sure how much your pet has eaten.

“Time is of the essence when chocolate or these fruits have been eaten, don’t take a ‘wait and see’ approach, as it could cause too much damage or sadly result in death.

“Cats are the ones at risk with lilies, with every part of the plant — leaves, stems, petals, pollen — all posing a serious risk to your cat’s health.

“Even a small amount of the plant can cause life-threatening medical issues, particularly damage to the kidneys, and death can occur as soon as one to two days after ingestion.

“If you fear your cat may have ingested some lily, call your vet immediately.”

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning in pets may include restlessness, excitement, hyperactivity, nervousness, trembling, vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst and urination, elevated heart rate, muscle tremors, seizures, and potentially death.

“By the time your pet is showing symptoms it’s potentially already a life-threatening situation, please don’t wait to get treatment,” Dr Oke continued.

Some tips to ensure the safety of your pets this Easter include:

  • Familiarise yourself with the location of the nearest emergency veterinary clinic and keep their contact information handy.
  • Store chocolate, fruit-based hot cross buns, and lilies out of reach of pets.
  • If you suspect or know that your pet has ingested any of these items, act swiftly and seek veterinary attention without delay.
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