Keep Your Pet Safe During Easter With Dr. Patrick Mahaney!

Easter is one of the best holidays of the year!

Good food, chocolate eggs, what could go wrong?

Well, if you have a pet – then there’s a lot that could go whacky if you’re not careful.

Good thing for you, and us, Dr. Patrick Mahaney is here to remind us how we can keep our precious pets safe for the holidays:

Could Your Easter Celebration Make Your Pet Sick?

Easter and the spring season are a time for celebrating new life. Traditions include egg hunting, decorating, and feasting, especially on chocolates and candies. While these are all great ways to celebrate the holiday, they each pose potential threats for your furry friend.

Chocolate candies, decorative plants, and Easter eggs all harbor a probability for toxicity. Animals are innately curious and the interaction or consumption of any aforementioned objects can land you and your pet in the emergency veterinary clinic. Be prepared this holiday and follow these tips to ensure your pet remains a part of the happy celebration!

Chocolate and Other Easter Basket Contents

Chocolate bunnies, eggs, and other treats contain caffeine and theobromine (termed methylxanthines), which harbor toxic potential for pets, especially our canine companions. These stimulants are slowly metabolized by the canine liver and cause specific clinical signs pending the type and quantity of chocolate consumed in relation to a dog’s body weight.

Gastrointestinal, urogenital, cardiovascular, and neurologic systems can be adversely affected:
Gastrointestinal signs include vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, and increased water consumption.
Urogenital signs include increased urination or urinary incontinence.
Cardiovascular signs include increased heart rate and arrhythmia.
Neurologic signs include restlessness, muscle tremors, seizure activity, and in severe cases, death.

Baking chocolate and dark chocolate are the most dangerous to dogs, as they contain the highest quantities of methylxanthine stimulants per volume. More concentrated chocolate increases the likelihood that clinical signs of toxicity will be observed.

Semisweet and milk chocolate are less dangerous, but can still be quite toxic. Chocolate flavored commercial products and baked goods have the lowest concentrations of stimulants.

White chocolate has no potential for toxicity, as it lacks both caffeine and theobromine. Yet, this pale alternative may still make your dog sick due to the density of sugar, fat, alcohol, and other substances hiding beneath the foil wrapper. Gastrointestinal issues, like pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), can ensue if your dog consumes white chocolate or other seemingly innocuous Easter treats (jelly beans, marshmallow bunnies, etc).

The VSPN has a Chocolate Toxicity Table to help pet owners determine if their pet’s chocolate consumption merits veterinary evaluation and treatment.

Besides candy, the Easter basket and plastic decorative hay can also be ingested and cause mechanical irritation to the stomach and intestines. Gastrointestinal distress or a foreign body obstruction (in the stomach or small intestines) can occur if your pet eats the grass, basket, or both.”

Have a pet question? Email us at [email protected] or you can tweet them to Dr. Patrick HERE!! OR Check him out on facebook

And be sure to come back and get the rest of the Easter tips from our most favorite Doc!

[Image via Dr. Patrick Mahaney/Russel Baer.]

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Mar 29, 2013 1:01pm PDT