Easter can be a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with our furry friends.
Hopefully in the UK we will see more sunshine, so that even indoor cats can benefit from an afternoon of sun bathing!
There are a few cautions to keep in mind however, which mainly have to do with
There are two levels of toxicity that owners should be concerned about:
The first is when the animal eats something that he shouldn’t and then gets diarrhoea or vomits as a result. This level is not caused by toxicity, but the ingestion of a foreign substance has upset the animal’s gastro-intestinal (GI) system. He is not really poisoned, just sick from the unhealthy substance. Many plants are like this, as every owner knows the experience of coming home to a pool of vomit as the dog has eaten something which upset her stomach. Cats are prone to this as they often seem to lack the sixth sense that would tell them not to eat those leaves, or grasses! This includes some plants which are unpleasant only in large quantities, so please do not leave your animal unattended near plants or flowers.
The biggest danger is that some plants are poisonous to dogs or cats, and sadly these are often the beautiful spring flowers that we bring into our homes at this time of year. Some of the plants which are toxic to animals are:
- LILIES CAN CAUSE COMPLETE KIDNEY FAILURE IN CATS within hours of eating any part of the plant. If you suspect that your cat has eaten any part of a lily, call you emergency vet practice IMMEDIATELY. Do not wait until kitty shows signs of illness, as by then it can be too late.
- Tulips, Narcissus or Daffodils can cause vomiting or diarrhoea
- Lily of the Valley,
- Cyclamens (often sold as houseplants)
- Amaryllis (often blooming now after winter planting)
- Spider plants are becoming popular again. They are very enticing to cats maybe due to their appearance, but are actually hallucinogenic to them. The effect is similar to catnip, but it is unclear now if they are harmful to the cats.
- Hyacinths are poisonous to dogs as are azaleas and rhododendrons.
Most flower bulbs are mega toxic to animals, so be careful if you like to dig them up after they have finished blooming. It is best to store the bulbs locked in a garden shed away from the animals.
Cats and dogs should not be allowed to wander into garden sheds as they contain many toxic substances.
The second major area of concern at Easter is chocolate toxicity. Everyone loves Easter candy, and it is common to leave the Chocolate bunnies and eggs around the house as Easter decorations.
There are ingredients in chocolate such as caffeine and theobromine which can cause serious illness or even death.
Chocolate is highly poisonous to both dogs and cats. In dogs, chocolate poisoning can cause life threatening heart problems and nervous system reactions such as seizures. In cats they can suffer from vomiting, diarrhoea, increased heart rate and acute kidney failure.
I know this all too well from personal experience. Some years ago, my cat almost died from kidney failure caused by eating chocolate. Her life was saved by our brilliant veterinarian, but she could easily have died from this experience.
In general, dark chocolate is more poisonous than milk chocolate.
Each animal will have a different threshold level so many may become sick after eating only a small amount.
Pleaes enjoy this special time of the year. Although we are in lockdown in most parts of the world, it is a magical time to spend more time with our beloved animals. They certainly enjoy the extra company!
Next week I will write more about the Covid 19 virus, and how lockdown affects our animals.
Here are some links about the toxins I mentioned.