Do not let your pets anywhere near these Easter products
Veterinarian Dr Rod Sharpin has alerted people to the dangers of feeding pets chocolate and other toxic foods during the Easter celebrations.
"Easter is a time for family gatherings, food and festivities and the age-old favourite Easter egg hunt. As a pet parent, it can be very tempting to sneak our furry family members some chocolate eggs or even a hot cross bun," he said.
"Although delicious to humans, chocolate, along with a variety of food and drinks popular at Easter, can be extremely dangerous and potentially life threatening to animals."
Dr Sharpin warned the cocoa found in chocolate eggs and bunnies contained a compound called theobromine which is highly toxic to cats and dogs, even in small quantities.
"Symptoms of toxicity, which range from vomiting and diarrhoea to rapid breathing and seizures, will usually occur within a few hours, but the effects can last days or longer, depending on the amount of chocolate that has been eaten. So if you suspect your buddy has been scavenging for a chocolate hit, it's important that you call your local vet immediately for further diagnosis or treatment," he said.
In addition to chocolate, there are many other food items and drinks including fruits, caffeine and alcohol that can have a potentially deadly effect on the health of your animal.
"Grapes (and the raisins found in hot cross buns) are toxic to dogs and cats, with the potential to cause kidney failure. Onions, leeks and garlic also contain toxins that can make your dog or cat seriously ill," Dr Sharpin said.
Easter pet tips from Dr Sharpin
- Do not feed your pets toxic foods and drinks including chocolate, caffeine or alcohol and don't forget to remind your children and guests
- Keep chocolate out of reach and avoid hiding Easter eggs close to the ground if your dog or cat is on the prowl
- Keep your pet, especially cats, away from Easter lilies, which are highly poisonous and can cause severe kidney failure
- Keep your pet away from Easter grass - the fake grass that often accompanies Easter baskets - as when ingested it can become anchored around the base of the tongue or stomach, often requiring expensive abdominal surgery
- Easter ornaments, while they aren't technically a food, can also pose a health hazard. Always keep an eye on your pets around the Easter decorations and try placing pet-alluring decor in high places, safely out of reach.
- Carrot sticks, de-seeded watermelons, green beans, cucumber, pumpkin and zucchini are a safe snack options for pets this Easter