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LILIES, CHOCOLATE HARMFUL TO PETS; OTHER EASTER PET SAFETY REMINDERS.
By Gina Lattuca
Mar 28, 2024, 11:00
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As shopping for the Easter holiday continues this week, the SPCA Serving Erie County reminds pet owners and people bringing gifts to pet owners that chocolate and Easter lilies can be harmful, even deadly, to pets.

All parts of the Easter lily, day lily, tiger lily, Asiatic lily, rubrum lily, and some others are toxic to felines. Ingesting even a small amount of the plant can result in kidney failure and, if untreated, death. Shortly after ingestion, a cat may vomit, become lethargic, or develop a lack of appetite. As the kidney damage progresses, these signs worsen. In most cases, a cat must be treated within mere hours of ingesting the plant, or damage to the kidneys will be irreversible.

Most chocolate contains high amounts of fat and methylxanthine alkaloids (theobromine and caffeine) that can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, excessive panting and thirst, hyperactivity, increased urinating, and stiffness. Cardiac failure, seizures, coma, and death can result if the chocolate ingestion is not found within a short time and treated appropriately.

Other holiday reminders:
*If you color your Easter eggs, ensure the food colorings or dyes do not contain ingredients that are toxic to pets.
*Check candy for the ingredient XYLITOL, extremely toxic to dogs even in very small amounts. Xylitol is a low-calorie sugar alcohol used as a sweetener, safe for many humans but extremely toxic to dogs, causing liver failure, seizures, and death.

*Keep Easter baskets, basket ‘grass,’ candy, and foil candy wrappers away from pets. Hiding those Easter baskets? Be sure the pets can’t find them before the kids! Basket grasses and foil wrappers are non-digestible and can get caught in the intestines, leading to blockage and possible perforation. They can lead to choking, strangulation, and even worse, an internal obstruction. In addition to chocolate, other candy can be dangerous to pets. Be sure children aren’t tempted to share their Easter basket candies with their four-footed friends!
*If you’re using garlic, onions, or chives in meal preparation, be extra careful about ensuring your pets aren’t sneaking a taste. These items are toxic to both cats and dogs and can cause gastroenteritis and hemolytic anemia. Adding to the risk is the fact that signs of both may not appear for several days. Signs of toxicity include increased heart/breathing rates, pale gums, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, and lethargy.

*Tempted to share holiday table scraps with Fido or Fluffy? Use discretion. Be aware of bones in the mix. And remember not to overfeed your animals with table food to which they’re not accustomed; this could lead to digestion problems and other unpleasant gastrointestinal issues.
*Be careful in selecting spring plants for the home. In addition to lilies,the foliage, flower, or pod of daffodils can cause upset tummies, vomiting, or diarrhea; flower heads of hydrangeas can cause stomach pains, vomiting, and weakness; even the seeds and pods of wisteria can cause all of the above plus dehydration and collapse.

*Be sure curious pets are not able to chew through a used garbage bag! Even if harmful items are properly disposed of, an unsupervised pet can chew through a plastic garbage bag and have access to raw bones and other waste.

Further details are available at YourSPCA.org. For more information on what might be harmful for specific pets, pet owners are encouraged to contact their veterinarians.

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