As Easter approaches, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) has urged pet and animal owners to prioritize their safety by keeping chocolate and other treats away from them. The association’s senior vice-president, Justine Shotton, stressed that it’s crucial for families to take steps to protect their pets amidst the celebrations to avoid cutting the festivities short with an emergency trip to the vet.
Shotton, who is a vet herself, has treated many cases of chocolate ingestion over the holidays and emphasized that chocolate eggs and bunnies, as well as hot cross buns, may seem harmless but can be life-threatening for some pets, particularly dogs, who can get extremely sick even from small amounts. She urged every pet and animal owner to be aware of the effects that the ingestion of certain foods can have on them and to act promptly should the worst happen.
The BVA warns that chocolate, especially dark chocolate and cocoa powder, can be dangerous for all animals, even in very small quantities. Dogs are particularly susceptible to poisoning due to a chemical called theobromine, which is found naturally in cocoa beans. Chocolate toxicity cases often spike over celebratory periods such as Easter and Christmas, and with many practices closed, accessing emergency care can be more difficult for owners, the BVA said.
According to the BVA, six in ten vets (60%) had treated cases of chocolate poisoning over Easter each year, based on the association’s Voice of the Veterinary Profession surveys from 2016 to 2018. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning in pets include excessive thirst, vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, hyperactivity, tremors, abnormal heart rate, hyperthermia, and rapid breathing. The association warned that severe cases can result in fits and heartbeat irregularities, and even coma and death.
Apart from chocolate, raisins and grapes are also toxic to pets and can cause kidney failure in dogs. The BVA advises pet owners to keep these foods away from their pets and to ensure that all Easter treats are stored safely out of reach.
Furthermore, the BVA has also reminded pet owners that lilies are highly toxic to cats, and even small amounts of pollen or water from a vase can cause kidney failure. Other common Easter plants, such as daffodils and tulips, can also be harmful to pets if ingested.
The association has recommended that pet owners should be aware of their pets’ behavior during the Easter period and to ensure that they are not exposed to any potential dangers. Owners should also make sure that their pets are microchipped and that their contact details are up to date in case they get lost.
In conclusion, the BVA has urged pet and animal owners to take necessary precautions to ensure their safety during the Easter period. By keeping chocolate and other toxic foods out of reach, owners can prevent their pets from getting sick and avoid emergency trips to the vet. It’s essential to be aware of the potential dangers that Easter plants can pose to pets and to keep them away from them. By being vigilant and taking necessary steps, owners can ensure that their pets can enjoy the festivities safely.