How To Keep Your Pet Safe During Easter:

  • Chocolate (especially dark chocolate) and Easter lilies are poisonous for pets
  • Keep track of hard-boiled eggs, as your pet might find one after it spoils
  • Instead of Easter basket grass use straw, tissue paper, or newspaper shreddings
  • Avoid bringing home live bunnies or chicks, as a lot of them are left in parks and shelters after some time
  • Keep Easter decorations (e.g. plastic eggs) at a safe distance from pets

How to make sure your pet stays safe during Easter

Easter is fun for the kids, but includes many items that can be dangerous and/or poisonous to our pets. These include Easter basket grass, hard-boiled eggs, plastic eggs, chocolate (especially dark chocolate), and lilies. Also, avoid bringing home live bunnies or chicks for your kids to play with, as these animals are a lot of responsibility and are often left in parks and shelters once the novelty wears off.

Listen to the podcast on iTunes or read the transcription below:

Steve: “Easter and Pet Safety with an “Eye on Pets,” I’m Steve Grzanich with Dr. Julia Georgesen.”

Dr. Georgesen: “Children love the baskets filled with goodies, but pets can certainly have some problems. One of the big things is Easter grass. Easter grass in baskets can cause some serious intestinal blockage. What happens is the plastic becomes very stringy, and if that gets anchored at the base of the tongue or in the stomach, it can make it really difficult to pass. Some better options as opposed to Easter grass would be straw, tissue paper, or newspaper shreddings to help hold all the goodies in the basket.”

Steve: “And then come the different kinds of candies that we get. What are your warnings about those?”

Dr. Georgesen: “Chocolate is always an issue. The poison center actually says their calls increased by 200 percent the week of Easter. The darker and more bitter the chocolate, the greater the danger it poses to pets. That chemical that is in chocolate is very much like caffeine and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, and abnormal heart rhythms.”

Steve: “Is it probably a good idea just to avoid all of these decorative things for Easter, if you have a pet in your house, just to be super safe?”

Dr. Georgesen: “Yes, or just make sure you put them in an area where the pet can’t get to it. Make sure children know to keep their baskets out of the way of your pet. Another thing to think about too is if you are doing an Easter egg hunt. If you are using hard-boiled eggs, you may want to keep count of how many eggs you put out, because if one is discovered days later by your pet and the egg is spoiled, your pet can become very sick. So keep track of all your hidden eggs and make sure they’re accounted for.”

Steve: “What about plastic eggs?”

Dr. Georgesen: “Plastic eggs, if they’re swallowed or chewed, they can cause vomiting, diarrhea, or actual obstructions in the bowel. Easter lilies can be very toxic to cats, and so can tiger lilies and daylilies. Actually, all parts of the plant; the leaves, the stems, the petals, and the pollen can cause severe kidney failure in cats. It happens as quickly as 6 to 12 hours after they eat the plant, and there’s no antidote. The best chance to have a cat survive lily poisoning is early vet intervention. Early signs are vomiting, dehydration, and seizures in cats. If you have a cat, you may just want to make sure you don’t even have lilies in your house.”

Steve: “The bunny and the little chicks are sort of the symbol of the holiday but those aren’t animals that we should be giving as pets, right?”

Dr. Georgesen: “They’re really cute and adorable and a lot of kids would like to have them, but it’s an animal, it’s a living creature and they require a lot of attention and care. A lot of times once that novelty wears off and the daily responsibility sets in, a lot of these animals are dumped in parks or shelters after Easter. So play it safe and buy your child a plush stuffed rabbit or chick instead.”

Steve: “And that’s all on pets, remember you can find past segments online at CBS Chicago.com slash audio, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter at “Eye on Pets” with Dr. Julia Georgesen. I’m Steve Grzanich, News Radio 780 at 105.9 FM.”