SPCA New Zealand

SPCA's advice to ensure a safe and fun Easter with your pet

09 April 2020
SPCA's advice to ensure a safe and fun Easter with your pet

If you’re planning on hiding chocolates around the house for your family as a welcome distraction during lockdown this Easter Weekend, SPCA wants pet owners to be extra vigilant to keep your pets safe.

Many common treats and snacks that humans enjoy over Easter can cause serious harm to your pets.

“Ignoring your pets’ pleading faces is actually in their best interest. Dogs and cats digest and metabolise food differently to humans, so what might be perfectly fine for us can be poisonous to them,” SPCA CEO Andrea Midgen says.

“As people look for fun ways to spend the Easter weekend during lockdown, it is important to consider your pets and their safety too. Pets can rummage through handbags, off tables, and through the rubbish, finding food that can make them sick,” she says.

Remember: if you think your pet has eaten something dangerous you should immediately call your local veterinary clinic for guidance. During the lockdown, many vets are now offering phone and video consultations. If the vet determines it is an emergency, you must follow their instructions when bringing your pet to the clinic to keep you and your vet safe.

Chocolate Treats

Make sure to keep chocolate eggs and treats away from dogs at all times, and carefully monitor where chocolate is hidden if you’re doing an Easter egg hunt.

Chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, chemicals that are toxic to dogs when ingested in large quantities. A good rule of thumb is the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it will be for a dog. Chocolate is also toxic to cats and many other animals.

Keep pets away from treats wrapped in tin foil as there is a chance it can cause an intestinal obstruction, or bleeding.

Ten foods that are unsafe for pets:

  • Grapes and raisins can be deadly to cats and dogs, so keep hot cross buns out of reach! Symptoms include lethargy excessive thirst, vomiting and in serious cases, acute kidney failure and death.
  • Alcohol and caffeine are toxic for pets.
  • Avocados contain persin which causes symptoms ranging from vomiting and diarrhoea to cardiac arrest and death. Birds are particularly sensitive to persin, but avocado should not be fed to any pets.
  • Chocolate can cause seizures, vomiting and diarrhoea, and in some cases death.
  • Macadamia nuts can cause vomiting, weakness and tremors if eaten by dogs.
  • Onions and chives contain disulphides and sulfoxides, which can damage red blood cells and cause anaemia.
  • Peaches, plums, persimmons, and apple pips contain a substance that degrades to cyanide.
  • Xylitol – a common ingredient in sugarless treats and sugarless gum is dangerous to animals.
  • Sweet corn cobs can cause blockages in the small intestine that may need to be removed surgically. Don’t let your dog chew on the cob.
  • Pork crackling, sausages and fatty meats not only add extra calories but can lead to intense pain, vomiting and bloody diarrhoea due to pancreatitis.

Including your pets in Easter festivities over lockdown

Easter can be a fun time for your pets, and you can safely include your furry friends in your upcoming Easter celebrations during lockdown.

Host an Easter egg hunt for your pets by hiding cat or dog treats around the house, and make sure you don’t leave any chocolate treats in places that might be easily accessible to animals. Remember to limit the number of treats to ensure you are not giving your pet too many treats at once to avoid giving them an upset tummy or overfeeding them.

You can also make mealtimes more interesting over the Easter weekend by treating your pet to new foods or by introducing enrichment toys such as a Kong® or other food puzzle feeders.

Safe foods for dogs include kumara, banana, pumpkin, carrot, cabbage, brown rice, quinoa, peas, broccoli, or cooked potatoes - just remember to give only in small amounts to avoid a tummy upset, and check with your vet before feeding if your dog suffer from a health condition such as diabetes.

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