Easter dangers for dogs


Hidden treats, new bunnies and chicks and savory smells of the dinner to come, what’s a dog not to like about Easter?

A dog, with a sense of smell 1,000 to 10 million times better than ours, will beat out a child on a Easter egg hunt paws down. But if the hidden treat is a foil-wrapped chocolate egg, the dog is in danger of poisoning. Edible — but dangerous — temptations for a dog abound on social holidays like Easter.

Jelly beans, marshmallow chicks and other sweets are less dangerous but still contribute to tooth decay, obesity and diabetes in dogs.

The plastic wrapping from an Easter hams smells just like ham to a dog, but can clog her digestive tract with life-threatening results. The same applies to shiny plastic eggs that may look like chew toys to dogs. While fresh hard boiled eggs may not cause problems for most dogs, they go bad quickly. When a dog finds  lost egg days later, he or she may get seriously ill. The shiny, plastic grass used to line Easter baskets can attract some dogs, and especially cats, causing blockages in their intestines. Small toys added to Easter baskets — fiber chicks, small stuffed bunnies or plastic ducklings, for example — look like chewable toys to a dog.  They can cause choking or blocked digestive tracts.

Rich tidbits of meat and gravy passed down to Fido as a special treat can led to pancreatitis. The pancreas produces the enzymes a dog needs to digest food. Rich food can cause inflammation of the pancreas, forcing the enzymes out the pancreas and into the dog’s abdomen where they begin to digest organs and other body parts. Although pancreatitis can usually be treated, the inflammation progresses rapidly and can be fatal if not treated in a timely way.

Here are some tips for a safer Easter for your dog:

  • Keep Easter baskets out of reach of dogs. This may mean having children open their Easter baskets in another room, or keeping Easter baskets off the floor or away from low tables.
  • Make sure any toys that are added to Easter baskets are too big for a dog to swallow.
  • If you have an Easter egg hunt, be sure to have a list and count of what you hid so when the hunt is over you can make sure that all has been found.
  • Don’t include chocolate in Easter baskets or hunts. This doesn’t mean the kids can’t have chocolate, just keep those chocolate eggs and bunnies for supervised times like after dinner.  Be sure that children are taught not to share their sweets with the family dog.
  • Plan ahead for your dog to have a safe special treat, instead of scraps from dinner. Everybody loves doing something special for family pets, but vomiting, diarrhea or an emergency trip to the vet from food that is new or too rich is no holiday celebration. If you have something your dog loves that is healthy, it serves as a holiday treat just as well as what your guests are eating but without the harmful consequences.
  • Know the signs of poisoning and pancreatitis.  If your dog is listless, vomits or has diarrhea, call your vet. Don’t try to induce vomiting or use other home remedies until you’ve consulted with a vet. Early treatment is better and easier on your pet than waiting until its condition is critical. Have the number of the vet or an emergency animal clinic close at hand. Remember that calling a poison control center may cost you $45 to $65 for a consultation.

Easter traditions are the foundations of happy family memories. A few precautions and preparation can assure that Easter is fun — not dangerous — even for Fido.

E is for Easter dangers for pets today in the 2014 A-to-Z Challenge for bloggers. Every day in April (except Sundays), FidoConfidential and other participating bloggers will write a post for the appropriate letter of the alphabet. Come back Monday for F is for Food and tips for feeding Fido better.