With a second Easter holiday in lockdown, millions of chocolate eggs are making their way into shopping baskets across the UK – but it isn’t just our eyes and noses which will be interested in the treats.
Leading vet charity PDSA has offered some crucial advice for pet owners to ensure curious furry friends don’t endanger themselves this Easter.
PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Downing said: “Easter is absolutely a time for indulgence, but keeping chocolate treats away from pets is vital, and sadly could be the difference between life and death. It’s not just dogs either – cats and rabbits can be affected too.
“Vets often see a large increase in chocolate poisoning cases around Easter, but they’d much prefer pets avoided this sweet treat all together. Thankfully, there are a few easy steps you can take to reduce risk in the home, and to ensure everyone has a happy Easter.”
- Keep chocolate well away from prying paws – A hard-to-reach cupboard or a sturdy, secure box is the perfect place to store pet-harming goodies.
- Consider a letterbox post catcher – With friends and families not able to celebrate Easter together again this year, we’re all more likely to be getting surprise treats in the post. Make sure you get to them first with the addition of a post catcher to your letterbox.
- Teach your kids to care, not share – Children are rightly taught that sharing is a good behaviour, but make sure to remind them this isn’t the case when it comes to food and pets. Check the table and floor around messy eaters to ensure there aren’t any chunks left behind for snooping snouts!
- Plan with precision – Easter egg hunts are so much fun, and a great chance to get out in the garden as the weather warms. Just make sure pets stay inside or by your side when the eggs are loose in the garden, and make a note of all the hiding places so you can check there are none left over afterwards.
- Stick a sticker – We all love-getting surprises in the post, but if you’re sending something edible to friends with pets, perhaps pop a sticker on the box to let them know to keep it away from pets.
Nina added, “If you catch them in the act or even suspect your pet has eaten chocolate intended for humans, call your vet for advice immediately. Signs of chocolate poisoning to look out for include: excessive thirst, vomiting, diarrhoea, a tender tummy, restlessness, tremors, rapid breathing and, in some cases, seizures.
“Most of us know that chocolate is poisonous to our pets, but without eyes in the back of our heads, one mistake could mean an urgent trip to your vet. This Easter, stay vigilant and involve your pet in your Easter celebrations in other ways – perhaps with a new toy, extra playtime, or by hiding some of their dinner around the garden for them to have their own ‘treat hunt’.”
PDSA is the vet charity for pets in need, preventing unnecessary suffering through treatment and education. Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information www.pdsa.org.uk.