RSPCA Victoria issues safety warning ahead of Easter long weekend

Published on 26 March 2024

RSPCA Victoria is warning pet owners of the dangers of tasty treats this Easter, flagging chocolate and hot cross buns as toxic to cats and dogs, and Easter Lillies as toxic to cats.

Dr Bronwyn Oke, Chief Veterinarian at RSPCA Victoria, said keeping these treats and plants away from pets is vital.

“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.”

If your pet has eaten chocolate, symptoms may include restlessness, excitement, hyperactivity, nervousness, trembling, vomiting, diarrhoea, increased drinking and urination, increased heart rate, muscle tremors, seizures, and possibly 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.

Tips to keep your pets safe this Easter:

  • Know where your nearest emergency vet clinic is and have their contact details ready
  • Keep chocolate, any fruit-based hot cross buns, and Lillies out of reach from pets
  • If you know, or even suspect, your pet has consumed any of them, act quickly, get them to a vet clinic as soon as possible.

For more information on how to keep you pet safe visit: https://rspcavic.org/learn/easter-tips/.

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