As we prepare to celebrate Easter, we need to remember that many of the traditions that go along with our holiday celebration can be harmful to our pets.  Here are a few tips to help keep your pets safe this Easter.  And, since Easter is a time for family gatherings, be sure to share this information with your guests.

• Chocolate:  Chocolate can be deadly for your pet.  Especially dark chocolate.  Make sure your children know not to share their candy with your pets and keep an eye out for any candy that may have been dropped on the floor.  Pets live by one rule… “if it’s on the floor, it must be OK to eat.”

• Easter Grass/Foil Wrappers:  Easter grass and candy wrappers pose a major threat to your pet’s digestive system.  Take care to keep your pet away from Easter baskets and, again, always be on the lookout for anything that may have found its way to the floor.

• Plants:  Many plants can be poisonous to pets and one of the most popular Easter plants, Lilies, are particularly dangerous.  Especially to cats.  Make every effort to keep Lilies out of reach.  If your cat becomes lethargic, is vomiting or experiencing diarrhea, check your Lilies for any evidence of chewing.  If you suspect your cat has ingested part of a Lily, get to your vet right away.  In the case of suspected Lily poisoning, time is of the essence.

• Human Food:  It is always a good rule of thumb to avoid giving human food to pets.  While many foods can simply cause an upset stomach, raisins and macadamia nuts can be deadly.  If you have guests, remind them of your “no human food for pets” rule and, as always, keep an eye out for any dropped food.  

• Xylitol:  Xylitol can be deadly for dogs.  Many candies are manufactured using Xylitol for sweetening.  While primarily used as an artificial sweetener, it can potentially be found in much of the candy that goes in your Easter basket.  Ingestion of Xylitol can cause a rapid drop in blood sugar and if untreated, can lead to liver failure and death.  If your dog is experiencing lethargy, vomiting or weakness, it could be a sign that it has ingested something containing Xylitol.  You should consider this a medical emergency and get your dog to your veterinarian as quickly as possible.

Easter is a joyous time for so many of us.  Let’s make sure it is a safe time for our pets. By following these simple guidelines, your pet will enjoy a healthy happy Easter.