Forget the Easter treats – look out for the Easter threats!

Forget the Easter treats – look out for the Easter threats!

Every year our homes are over run with chocolate eggs at Easter time.  With an estimated nine million dogs in the UK, no doubt there will be a few drooling mouths as you tuck into your Easter treats.  You may well think; what harm would a few cubes of chocolate do to your fury friend?

Actually, more than you’d realise.  Giving dogs and cats human chocolate they cannot digest can make them feel very unwell.  In fact, a study released this week by Direct Line Pet Insurance has revealed that 99 per cent of vets surveyed reported chocolate as the most common human food causing illness, and 89 per cent had treated cases relating to this within the last 12 months.

While most owners are aware of the dangers, even a tiny treat can cause trouble.  Chocolate contains a compound called xanthines.  Ingestion of chocolate can cause muscle tremors, difficultly in breathing, irregular heartbeats and in some cases it can be fatal.  It’s at this time of year that this becomes more possible because there is typically so much chocolate available in the house.

And it’s not just the chocolate you need to be wary of when it comes to your four legged friends.  Whether it’s the Sunday roast or the Easter meal, most owners like to give their pet the odd titbit, so they feel included.  However, there are a number of dangers for dogs that can lurk within our meals. See our ‘watch out for’ list below…

Dangerous dinners

Leftovers from the Easter as meal, such as chicken or turkey bones shouldn’t be given to your pet.  Bones can splinter easily causing damage to the intestine and can cause choking if they get stuck in your pet’s throat.

Stuffing often contains onions and garlic both these ingredients contain the toxic ingredient thiosulphate. This can cause haemolytic anaemia, where the pet’s red blood cells burst while circulating in its body.

Avoid giving your pet any fat trimmings too, as this can cause pancreatitis.Pigs in blankets’ (sausages wrapped in bacon) are usually a favourite at any festive mealtime but the high levels of salt can cause a dog to drink too much water, which can develop into a life-threatening condition called bloat.

Nasty nibbles

Entertaining guests over the Easter weekend typically brings with it platefuls of nibbles such as nuts, raisins and grapes.  However, Macadamia nuts, walnuts along with most varieties of nuts contain high amounts of phosphorus which can lead to bladder stones.   And, as little as six nuts are enough to cause some dogs to develop muscular tremors and paralysis in their legs.  Raisins and grapes are toxic and in large quantities have proven fatal.

Certain fruits like clementines contain pips and the kernels of plums, peaches and apricots are easily dropped onto the floor, but these contain a type of cyanide compound that can poison a dog if it eats enough, resulting in dilated pupils, breathing difficulties, hyperventilation and shock.

Ghastly gifts

Pets, especially dogs, are particularly curious of mystery packages especially Easter Egg shaped boxes!  So, make sure you keep any edible treats stored safely away.  If you’re decorating your house for Easter with fluffy chicks or bows, make sure you keep these out of reach from your pet.

Terrible tipples

Most of us enjoy a tipple during the Easter Bank Holiday, but remember that alcohol should be strictly kept in the hands of humans and away from furry paws!  Dogs are much more susceptible to the poisonous effects of alcohol and ingestion can lead to laboured breathing, behavioural changes, hypothermia, seizures and cardiac arrest.

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