Spring is in the air! It’s time to come out of hibernation and step into the warmer weather. But if you’re a pet owner, don’t get too excited just yet. Along with the joy of springtime come some potentially dangerous elements for your pets.
To make sure we’re all in the know, veterinarian Dr. Rebecca Greenstein shares some tips on what potential dangers we need to be aware of.
With springtime’s holiday- Easter- right around the corner, there are some pretty tasty treats that you may like, but your pet? Not so much.
Just like how kids do chocolate Easter egg hunts around the house, so can your pets. Chocolate is not uniformly toxic but that doesn’t mean it’s something your pet should be eating. It’s all about how many milligrams of chocolate versus how many kilograms your pet weights.
It may seem weird to pair raisins with Easter, but hot cross buns are a popular breakfast during the holiday and they are full of those tiny dried up grapes. The scary thing about raisins is that there is no minimum amount that needs to be ingested for there to be concern. One raisin equals a trip to the vet. Raisins can cause kidney failure and can even result in death.
You know that super cool colourful grassy stuff in all the kids’ Easter baskets? This one is particularly bad for cats. Cats have a love for string that nobody understands but they absolutely love this stuff! However, if they ingest it, the grass can get lodged somewhere inside of them- base of tongue or exit from the stomach. If you see a piece of string coming out of your animal’s bum DO NOT pull it out. The string could be wrapped around something. Bring your animal to a vet and let them do the dirty work- literally.
Springtime calls for pretty flowers but they won’t be so pretty when they harm your animal. Be sure to take caution when it comes to the following flowers.
This flower is your pet’s worst nightmare. All parts of this plant are toxic- leaves, stems, the vase of water that contains the plant roots or fallen pollen, and of course the flowers. Lilies can cause serious kidney failure, accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy. They are extremely toxic to cats especially. Some cats will develop tremors or seizures. They are potentially harmful to dogs though studies have failed to reproduce toxicity in dogs. However, it’s better to be safe than sorry! Easter lily toxicity is especially fatal. Now, there are many different types of lilies. Not all are toxic but here is a list of some to look out for:
- Common Easter lily
- Tiger lily
- Stargazer lily (very common in floral arrangements)
- Wood lily
- Rubrum lily
- Day lily (stella d’oro)
- Red lily
- Western lily
- Asiatic show lilies
- Japanese show lilies
You know it’s spring with the first sight of blooming daffodils. They may be sunshine yellow but they sure won’t seem as bright when your pet gets a taste. Daffodils contain poisonous alkaloids that can cause vomiting, excessive salivation, diarrhea, convulsions, tremors and heart problems. The bulbs are the most dangerous part of the plant.
OTHER FLOWERS TO WATCH OUT FOR
- Sago palm
And of course with blooming flowers come springtime allergies not only for humans, but our pets too. There is so much pollen in the air during the spring season that pet allergies are at a peak!
SIGNS OF ALLERGIES
- Wet or watery eyes
- Extremely itchy skin
Once you bring your pet into a vet there are a variety of treatments depending on the allergy-antihistamines, allergy shots, and anti-itch medication. You may have your own antihistamines in your home, but DO NOT give your pet human medication without directly consulting a vet first- and Google doesn’t count! Some human antihistamine medication can work for dogs, but it’s very tricky to make sure you get the dosage right. Dogs also have the potential to have allergic reactions to certain bug bites like bees. In this case, you should 100 per cent bring your animal to a vet clinic immediately. Some precautions you can take at home include limiting your pet’s contact with the outside environment and washing their feet when they come in to reduce allergen load.
Some pets love to roll around and take a puddle bath or stop for a nice refreshing sip of puddle water. It’s important to stop your pet from such behavior because puddles can very quickly become stagnant water. This can lead to gastrointestinal upset or more serious health concerns like leptospirosis- a bacterial infection that can cause severe damage to the kidneys and liver. Dogs are most commonly affected by leptospirosis. It is rare among cats and appears to be mild although very little is known about the disease in this species. Lepto can be attracted from raccoon urine that is sitting in puddles. In addition to lepto, so many other things can exist in a puddle- gasoline run off, salt from melted snow, and chemicals from fertilizers. Yuck!
Pet owners, always check your pets and make sure they are bug free! When checking, look for heartworms, fleas, and most important- ticks! Ticks are HUGE now. There has been a major upswing in cases. Make sure you not only check your pet, but yourself too.
While we want to keep our pets safe from spring dangers, we also want to keep them safe every day. Unfortunately, some animals are in need of a home and we want to help them find a forever home. To see all of the animals currently available for adoption, visit the Ontario SPCA website.