Be Aware of Pet Hazards this Spring

On April 20, 2014

Pet hazarrds

Somehow, it is already mid-April! Easter is upon us. Spring is here.

It seems that every season brings with it special safety concerns for pets. Spring is not exempt. Pay attention to the following common pet hazards associated with this time of year.

Many lily species are toxic to pets, especially cats. The Easter lily is highly toxic and potentially fatal if even a small amount of petal or leaves is ingested. Ingestion of any part of the Easter lily can result in severe kidney failure in cats. Watch for vomiting, lethargy, weakness and even coma or death in cats found to have consumed lily parts. If ingestion is suspected, seek veterinary help immediately.

Easter wouldn’t be the same for many without chocolate treats in many forms – bunnies, eggs, etc. But chocolate can be very toxic to pets, depending on the type and amount ingested. Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, not to mention fat and sugar. The fat and sugar can cause upset stomach in pets, but the theobromine is the dangerous component. Depending on the amount and type of chocolate ingested, your pet may exhibit the following signs:

  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Hyperactivity
  • Tremors and/or seizures
  • Racing heart rhythm progressing to abnormal rhythms
  • Death in severe cases

Dark and baking chocolates are the most dangerous to your pets. Be sure to keep chocolate treats away from your pets. Always call your veterinarian if chocolate toxicity is suspected, even if only a small amount was consumed.

Easter Baskets
We all remember receiving those fun Easter baskets as kids. The contents are not only fun for us, but cats (and dogs) can be attracted to the green plastic grass. Much as a string can act as an intestinal foreign body, this grass can cause an intestinal blockage if ingested. If you notice a length of grass protruding from your pet’s mouth or anus, do not pull on it as it could be trapped far inside the body. Contact your veterinarian immediately for appropriate treatment.

Many candies and baked goods are sweetened artificially with a sugar substitute called xylitol. Although not harmful to humans, xylitol can cause severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and liver failure in dogs even if very small amounts are ingested. Keep candies, chewing gums and baked goods away from pets, and seek immediate veterinary care if xylitol ingestion is suspected.

Flowering Bulbs
The flowering bulbs of spring certainly lend to the beauty of the season. However, pets may also be attracted to tulips, crocuses, hyacinths and daffodils. In some cases, it is the actual bulb that is the toxic component while in others it may be the flowers, leaves or any other part of the plant. Signs of ingestion range from oral irritation to gastrointestinal bleeding to respiratory depression. Make sure your garden is pet-proof as needed!

Making their appearance in early spring to guarantee a happy summer garden, fertilizers can be both attractive and damaging to your pet. Watch out for the following ingredients in fertilizers that are particularly dangerous:

  • Bone meal
  • Blood meal
  • Organophosphates
  • Iron

If your pet ingests anything from the household or garden that has packaging, take it with you on your veterinary visit so that offending ingredients may be identified and appropriate treatment started immediately.

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