This Easter, be especially careful to keep pets and chocolate separate. Whether it’s chocolate in the house, arriving in the post or eggs hidden around the garden by the Easter Bunny, some pets – dogs especially, just can’t resist it. But it can prove fatal - as can various other things that are commonly around this long weekend. And this year, it might be harder than ever to see a vet, so please be extra vigilant.
Chocolate can be very toxic to dogs. It varies how much so, but generally, the better the quality of the chocolate, the more dangerous it is – with plain chocolate and cocoa powder the worst of all. Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine – something that the human body can process but dogs and cats can’t.
Initially, chocolate poisoning can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, which may lead to excitability, twitching, tremors, fitting and life-threatening problems with the liver and heart.
Keep all chocolate out of reach of your pets, and if they eat any, take it very seriously and seek immediate veterinary advice. If you have an Agria Pet Insurance policy, call the Pet Health Helpline who can advise you if your pet has ingested a ‘toxic dose’; calculated using their weight and the amount and type of chocolate involved.
1. Spring bulbs
Daffodils, tulips and crocus bulbs are toxic and can poison a dog if they are able to dig up and eat the bulbs. Side effects can include fitting, heart and blood pressure problems, vomiting and diarrhoea. Additionally, daffodil flowers and even drinking the water from a vase of them can be enough to make your dog unwell.
2. Herbicides & fungicides – plant and fungal-killing chemicals e.g. weed killer, mildew control
Toxicity among herbicides varies enormously, but poisoning can occur from as little contact as a pet brushing up against a treated plant. The results can vary from vomiting to liver failure – so keep these chemicals well away from your pets at all times.
3. Rodenticides – rat or mouse killers
If you find you have a rodent problem and you have other pets, do not use rodenticides. They are as attractive to your cat or dog as they are to the rodents they are designed to kill, and that’s why they account for so much of the pet poisoning seen by vets every year.
Symptoms such as weakness, lethargy, lameness or bruising are typical, as well as vomiting, excitability, changes in body temperature and fitting. Even if you haven’t used this poison yourself but your cat is displaying symptoms, it could be that they have eaten a poisoned mouse from elsewhere – so seek veterinary advice immediately.
The blossom is out and for many of us that means hay fever is kicking in. But be very careful not to leave antihistamines lying around as they can prove highly toxic to pets. Symptoms to look out for include agitation, lethargy, vomiting, aggression and seizures, and they could prove fatal.
Beautiful they may be, but they are also highly dangerous to cats. For some, even being in the same room as lilies can be enough to cause a toxic reaction. If there’s even a chance that your cat has come into contact with them in a vase or as a plant, seek veterinary advice immediately as any delay could result in kidney failure or even death.
If you are concerned that you think your pet has eaten or been in contact with anything toxic, or if they have any of the symptoms mentioned above, seek veterinary advice immediately.