Easter means spring flowers are painting gardens with colour, houses are adorned with decorations and cupboards throughout the country are stocked with chocolate eggs wrapped in every colour of foil imaginable. Whilst this time of year may be exciting and enjoyable, many don’t realise the number of potential dangers pets encounter around Easter. However, there are pet-safe alternatives to the traditional Easter decorations.
Some households decorate eggs to celebrate Easter, yet some materials used for this can pose a risk to pets’ health. Brightly-coloured craft items like glitter and paint could appear attractive to dogs or cats, and can be harmful if ingested. Take care when using any such items near your pet, and consider limiting their use. Food dyes used to decorate eggs can sometimes include potentially hazardous sodium bicarbonate, so opt for natural dyes such as beetroot juice.
Using real eggs in Easter egg hunts around the garden may cause problems, as a forgotten rotten one can make a pet ill. Why not use plastic or paper eggs instead that can be decorated and hidden in the garden, or placed around the home? Remember these should be too large for your pet to swallow.
After the dull winter, spring flowers such as daffodils are a welcome sight. It is tempting to decorate your own garden and home with them, but perhaps it is best to avoid doing so if you have pets. Certain bulbs and flowers are deadly to dogs and cats when consumed, but there are other, non-toxic flowers available around this time of year. You could incorporate daisy chain making into your bank holiday activities, whilst Easter orchids provide a pretty alternative to other poisonous plants.
Spring also signifies the return of undesirable plants and pests, and the use of herbicides and pesticides such as weed killer and slug repellent. Take care that none of these have been administered before spending time with your pets in the garden, or embarking on an Easter egg hunt. Ingestion can be poisonous for pets.
Certain items included within Easter baskets are hazardous to pets. Plastic or edible grass commonly used to line baskets might appear attractive to dogs and cats, as they sometimes like to munch on the real thing. Eating plastic grass may result in a bowel obstruction, whilst edible grass can contain high amounts of sugar. Coloured tissue paper offers a safe alternative. If your pet does accidentally consume any fake grass, ensure you immediately take them to the vet.
Chocolate eggs with their brightly coloured foil can attract the attention of pets. Some dogs have been known not only to eat the chocolate egg but also the foil wrapped around it. Chocolate contains theobromine which is poisonous to dogs, whilst foil and other wrappings could become stuck in the throat or create breathing problems. Substitute chocolate eggs with brightly coloured plastic or paper ones, but ensure these aren’t small enough to be swallowed by your pet. Keep real chocolate eggs and any other sweet items well out of your pet’s reach. Other foods such as raisins and nuts sometimes found in hot cross buns can be toxic for dogs or cats, so bear this in mind when deciding what to put in your Easter basket.
If you do put up any Easter decorations, think about how you would pet-proof your home at Christmas as a guide. Put any hanging decorations well out of the way of pets, and make sure they won’t fall on their heads. Hide any wires trailing off decorative lights so that pets are unable to chew them. Some people choose to hang tinsel at Easter and if you do, make sure your pet can’t get near to it, as eating just a small amount can severely harm them. Easter candles should be kept well out of reach, and in a place where they can’t be knocked over. Cards and paper decorations are safe options.
However you celebrate, remember to factor the safety of your pets into whatever you decide to do. Making the extra effort to cater for them will ensure you all have a safe and enjoyable Easter.