The Easter Long Weekend is upon us, we are preparing for guests, dinners and of course Easter Egg Hunts!
Easter is a time of year where we often like to celebrate and get together with family, including our furry family members. However, there are a few things to consider to help keep our pets safe during these types of holidays.
Did you know that Easter lilies are extremely toxic to cats? ALL parts of the plant are very dangerous, and a cat only needs to ingest a very small amount before getting sick. It is often fatal, leading to kidney shut-down. It is also toxic to dogs and best avoided, although cats are more sensitive (even the pollen can lead to problems). This includes all flowers in the lily family. Lilies should be kept in cat-free rooms and out of the reach of any dogs. Any plant debris should be immediately cleaned up and the area disinfected before any cats are allowed back in the area once the plant has been removed.
If there is any suspicion that a cat has had contact with a lily, it should be immediately brought to your veterinarian, where routine blood work can check for kidney damage. Hospitalization is often necessary. Lilies can result in vomiting/diarrhea, extreme lethargy, not eating, salivation, kidney failure and death.
During a holiday, we often celebrate with rich meals and lots of food. It is very common to want to share some of the holiday feast with our family dog or cat. However, dogs are at higher risk of pancreatitis, especially after receiving rich foods with a higher fat contact. You may see signs of upset stomach (vomiting, diarrhea, not eating, lethargy, or abdominal discomfort); the severity can vary greatly.
For pets with sensitive stomachs, it is best to avoid any new foods that may trigger digestive upset. For other pets, avoiding high fat foods (ex: gravy, fatty meat, etc) should also be avoided. Any toxic foods (containing onion, garlic, grapes, raisins, chocolate, xylitol, etc) should be avoided completely. Otherwise, foods may be given in small amounts as a treat (depending on pet size: a cat or small dog may receive a 1 cm strip of meat; a large dog may receive a 3-4 cm strip). It is best to give any treats away from the dinner table or kitchen to discourage begging behavior. When in doubt, contact your veterinarian.
Some pets may experience stress with a change in routine. It is important to make sure pets are still eating and drinking normally. They may be best kept in a smaller room away from main activities (especially with indoor cats that may escape through doors to the outside). Pheromones may also be helpful to reduce a pet’s stress level. For dogs, Adaptil is commonly used. For cats, Feliway is most common. Pheromones can signal that “all is well” and result in a calmer animal. There are a number of other options as well that can be helpful. If your pet does struggle with anxiety, various options can be discussed with your veterinarian.
So in conclusion, I hope that everyone (both people and their pets!) have a fun and safe holiday.