Wednesday 27 Mar 2024


Keep Your Pets Safe This Easter

Potential toxins can pose a threat to our furry companions!

Laura Mock, our Head of Veterinary Services: “Anyone with a pet will know those puppy-dog eyes that beg for a taste of our treats… However, some of our favourite snacks and decorations can be very dangerous for them. With Easter on the horizon, it’s really important to keep these potentially harmful items firmly out of reach. Unfortunately, many poorly pets are presented to us each Easter period, with illnesses that are possible to prevent. We ask the general public to take extra care this Easter and spread awareness about these common household hazards for our furry friends.” 

It’s vital for pet owners to remember that some common human foods are not recommended for pets. Popular snacks and treats for humans can disrupt a pet’s balanced diet and may cause serious health risks, including digestive upset, obesity, and more severe, even fatal, issues.

Remember, if you suspect your dog has ingested a potential toxin, contact your vet immediately. Early intervention can make a significant difference in the outcome.

Milo, an adorable patient of The Irish Blue Cross (pictured on the left) is a great example how important early intervention is in such cases. One day, he accidentally ate some human medication that could have been fatal. His lovely owner acted fast and rushed him to The Irish Blue Cross. Our vets acted quickly, undertaking a procedure that safely flushed the potentially poisonous medication out of his system. He remained under observation until he was well enough to be reunited with his owner. Milo was lucky. A lot of pets can ingest harmful substances that can be found around the house, that we humans take for granted.

Keep these foods away from your pet:

Chocolate: Theobromine, found in chocolate, can be toxic to dogs. Dark chocolate and cocoa powder contain higher levels and pose a greater risk. Ingesting chocolate can cause vomiting and diarrhoea, panting, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors and seizures. The toxicity varies depending on the type of chocolate, the size of the pet, and the amount they ingested. It’s best to keep all chocolate and caffeinated beverages away from pets.

Xylitol: This sugar substitute is often found in sugar-free sweets, baked goods, chewing gum, and toothpaste. Xylitol ingestion can lead to insulin release, causing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) in dogs, which may lead to liver failure.

Raisins and Grapes: These seemingly harmless snacks, often found in hot cross buns or as a standalone treat, can lead to kidney failure in dogs.

Easter Lilies: While beautiful, Easter lilies are highly toxic to cats and can cause kidney failure. However, other lilies can cause gastrointestinal (tummy) upset in dogs.

Alcohol: Keep alcoholic beverages away from pets, as they can cause intoxication, respiratory failure, or even coma in dogs. Under no circumstances should your pet be given any alcohol

Fatty Foods: Easter feasts may include fatty foods like a roast lamb dinner with all the trimmings, however it’s important to remember not to feed your pet scraps from the dinner table, no matter how much they beg. Excessive fat found in roast dinners can lead to severely upset tummies and even pancreatitis in dogs.

Onions, Garlic, Chives: These vegetables and herbs can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage and anemia. Although cats are more susceptible, dogs are also at risk if a large enough amount is consumed.

Nuts: Certain nuts, like macadamia nuts, can cause weakness, vomiting, and hyperthermia (uncontrolled high temperature) in dogs. The oils and fats in nuts can cause extreme digestive upset and lead to much more serious health risks.

Easter Egg Wrappers, Tin Foil and Cling Film: The wrappers from Easter eggs can cause intestinal blockages if ingested by dogs. Please tidy them up and keep out of reach of your pets.

Easter Grass: The colorful “grass” used in Easter baskets and other decorations can be tempting for dogs to chew on but can cause intestinal blockages if swallowed.

The Irish Blue Cross is committed to helping pets live happier and healthier lives. You can help as well – by making a donation or taking part in our annual Easter Raffle!