Easter is a festive occasion in most Christian households, with colorful baskets, lots of chocolate and sugary candy, flowers, and big family meals. However, many of the same things that make Easter enjoyable for humans can be harmful, or even fatal, to pet cats and dogs.
Keep these common Easter items away from your pets
1. Easter Lilies. While those graceful, white lilies are beautiful and a traditional symbol of the season, they can be deadly to your pets, especially cats. All parts of lilies (even the dirt they were grown in) can cause kidney failure in cats if ingested.
2. Chocolate. Chocolate candy, such as those bunnies and eggs, can be enticing to your cats and dogs. However, chocolate produces methylxanthines after it is eaten, a substance that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even seizures in pets. The ASPCA reports that they get more calls about chocolate poisoning on their 24-hour hotline on Easter than any other subject. In general, the darker the chocolate, the more serious the risk.
3. Jelly beans and other sugary treats. Many types of sugary Easter candy contain Xylitol, an artificial sweetener that is toxic to dogs and cats. Small candy, like jelly beans, can also present a choking hazard for pets.
4. Table food. Make sure your guests know that you don't approve of slipping your pets a little food from their Easter dinner plates. Common human foods, such as onions, garlic, grapes, and avocados, are toxic to pets. Better to just say no to feeding your pets from the table, even on a holiday.
5. Easter grass. Pets love to play with Easter grass out of the gift baskets. However, just like tinsel at Christmas time, pets can ingest these strands and the Easter grass can get tangled in your cat or dog's digestive tract, causing an intestinal blockage.
6. Alcoholic drinks. While few people would intentionally serve their pets an alcoholic drink, curious pets can easily get into enticing beverages set on low coffee tables or left unattended on the floor. This is especially true of drinks made with fruit juices.
If, despite your best efforts, your cat or dog ingests lilies, chocolate, sugary candy, and/or toxic food from the table, prompt veterinary attention is essential to their continued good health. Call your nearest animal hospital as soon as possible and be ready to take your pet to see them immediately.