Spring 2015- Easter will soon be here….The treats and the risks

Spring time is here, the warmer weather is nearly upon us we can all look forward to Easter and more time outside in the garden.  That will help us all keep fit and healthy. In my last blog I told you all that Paddy and I were well and truly engaged in our keep fit regime, and Nurse Nicky is having great success with her weight club so if you are planning a spring weight loss campaign get your owners to contact either of the surgeries, book an appointment to see Nicky.

The Easter bank holiday will soon be here which often leads to family get together and treats for our people friends. Sadly not all of these treats are healthy for dogs and cats; some are poisonous and can cause us real harm. I have made a guide below to some of the most common hazards to dogs and cats at this time of year:

· Easter eggs– I have warned you all before about the dangers of chocolate at Christmas time, but there seems to be loads of it in human houses at Easter as well, all in shiny crinkly packaging which is just very tempting to remove. It contains theobromine which can be poisonous to dogs. Beetle ate a whole Easter egg once which one of our humans had left in a safe place, but fortunately he was spotted by Paddy and had to be made to be sick to get rid of it from his stomach.  Please make sure your family keep their Easter eggs and any other chocolate treats safe and out of your way……… the packaging as well…………. Some chocolate Easter bunnies come wrapped in sparkly foil with a pretty bow and a bell, all which appears to be very interesting to cats. My vet friends have recently had to operate on a cat that had swallowed ribbon, and another that had swallowed a sewing pin, so it seems some cats will try anything once and therefore it is best if these pretty chocolate bunnies are safely out of the way.

· Hot Cross Buns -These tasty toasted treats contain dried fruits. All vine fruits, that’s raisins, currants and sultanas, can be poisonous to dogs, so don’t be tempted to try hot cross buns this Easter it could make you very poorly.

· Onions and bones – all of the onion family including shallots, onions, leeks and chives whether cooked or raw can be poisonous to dogs. So don’t be tempted to eat any left overs, or stuffing from the Sunday lunch, as it will often contain members of the onion family which humans seem to love. I have often mentioned the dangers of cooked poultry bones. These splinter really easily into very sharp pieces which can cause huge problems, so as lovely as the roast chicken smells it is just not worth the risk. Stick to dog chews.

· Chewing gum and sweeteners – Lots of human diet foods and sweeteners contain Xylitol which can be poisonous. So don’t be tempted to try your humans diet foods, it will not be good for dogs.

·Slug pellets-many slug pellets sold in Garden Centres are poisonous to pets. Liquid slug repellents are less dangerous, but the best of all are non-toxic means of slug deterrents such getting your owners to use wood ash, or sharp gritty sand as a barrier around plants as slugs don’t like crawling over them or  to put copper tape round the garden pots for the same reason.

· Spring cleaning-spring time gets our human families out of hibernation and into the gardens where they want to scrub away the gloom and tidy up the outdoor places that cats have been patrolling all winter. Some of the products they use to clean the patios, slabs and furniture contain chemicals that are very toxic to cats and dogs. Dettol and Jeyes fluid both of which go milky when mixed with water contain phenolic compounds which can be very harmful if swallowed. So make sure you stay safely indoors when the outdoor spring clean begins.

·Flowers, plants and bulbs – spring bulbs look pretty, at this time of year emerging from the winter to brighten up the gardens, but please don’t be tempted to eat them. Many plants including the very popular daffodil are poisonous, especially the bulbs to dogs

Daffodils and cut flowers can be harmful to my feline friends as well. All parts of the daffodil, even the water in the flower vases can be poisonous to cats if swallowed, so hopefully if your owners are reading this and you have cats in your house with a tendency to drink from the flower vases remind your owners to keep an eye on them.

Finally, if you do eat something you shouldn’t have, these are the steps you need your owners to take:

·         Stay calm…… but make sure you cannot eat any more of the harmful product

·         Phone the practice and tell the vets what you have had and arrange to be seen by a vet as soon as possible

·         Collect any wrapping or packaging  which may have vital information for the vet so they know how best to treat you

I hope you and your families enjoy the spring time and have a happy, safe time together,