Keeping your pet safe and healthy this Easter

Easter is fast approaching and that can mean novel and naughty things for our pets to get into. Keep your pet (and your wallet) safe by making sure people around your pets are educated on things that could be potentially toxic to your furry friends:


There’s a great deal of variation between individual dogs in terms of how susceptible they are to chocolate, and the content of the toxin (known as theobromine, a cousin of caffeine) varies quite a bit between chocolates. For example, dark chocolate is worse for dogs than milk chocolate, and cooking chocolate is the most toxic.

Signs of chocolate toxicity include fast heart rate, excitability, restlessness and, if severe, high blood pressure and seizures. It’s easily treatable, but best avoided if possible. It’s also common for dogs to experience vomiting and diarrhea after eating even small amounts of chocolate.


While many pet owners are now conscious of chocolate toxicity, another less know risk during Easter is the lily. Cats are the ones at risk with lillies, rather than dogs, 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. The damage is done 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.

Rising bread dough or yeast

These common cooking ingredients can cause obstruction or alcohol poisoning.

Grapes and raisins

While these are yummy ingredients often found in hot cross buns, as little as one grape or sultana can prove toxic. Unfortunately, we don’t know what part of the grape is toxic, but they do seem to be worse in a dried form.  Like chocolate, grape toxicity appears to be individual to the dog – the size and breed of the dog has no relationship to the amount that when ingested will cause kidney failure.


Xylitol is a sweetener found in some chewing gums, sugar free items and mouthwashes. It can cause rapid, life-threatening low blood sugar.  Most products that contain xylitol do not provide information about the concentration of xylitol within the product, making it almost impossible to predict whether a product has a toxic amount of xylitol or not.  All xylitol-containing foods should be treated as potentially toxic.

Fatty foods

Fatty food can incite pancreatis in dogs. This extremely painful condition can cause vomiting, lethargy, and a loss of appetite in your pet.

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