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Easter Dangers for Dogs

Chocolate and xylitol are Easter dog hazards.

Easter is a fun time for many people. Spring is arriving, weather is improving, and spirits are rising. As with any holiday, we want to share the fun times with our favorite furry friends. However, there are Easter dangers for dogs that you need to be aware of in order to enjoy the holiday to its fullest.

Chocolate Toxicity in Dogs

Chocolate and Easter go hand-in-hand like Valentine's Day and roses. But chocolate and dogs do not mix at any time of year.

Chocolate contains fat and sugar. These two substances are not digested well by dogs, and they can result in GI upset. In more serious cases, dogs can develop pancreatitis from eating foods high in fat. Pancreatitis is a serious, painful condition in which the dog's pancreas over-produces digestive enzymes in response to a high-fat meal. These enzymes begin to break down the dog's own body tissues.

Chocolate also contains theobromine and caffeine, two substances that negatively affect a dog's neurologic and cardiac systems. Different types of chocolate contain differing amounts of these toxic substances. The toxic effects of chocolate on dogs are dependent on the amount of and type of chocolate eaten as well as the size of the dog. Find out more about chocolate toxicity in dogs here.

Don't give your dog any chocolate this Easter, and make sure that any chocolate goodies that enter your house are kept well out of reach of your canine pal.

Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs

Xylitol is a natural sugar substitute that is used in a wide variety of human products, including many types of gum and candy.

Xylitol is toxic to dogs, causing a dangerous drop in blood sugar that can result in seizures and death. At higher doses, xylitol can also cause liver damage in dogs that may not be reversible.

Do not give your dog any candy this Easter, keep all candy and gum out of his reach, and be especially aware of products that may contain xylitol; it is not always on a product's label. Read more about xylitol toxicity in dogs here.

Fat Trimmings and Bones: Problems for Dogs

Easter often comes with a nice, big meal. Ham, lamb, chicken, or duck may be on the menu. Your dog might love to have a piece of the main dish, but for his sake, keep it away from him. The high fat content of many of these meats can easily cause your dog's pancreas to over-react. This results in the painful condition of pancreatitis. Be very careful not to allow your dog access to any bones, either. Bones can break teeth, cause choking, perforate the GI tract, or cause intestinal obstruction that may require surgery. For more foods that are toxic to dogs, review this slideshow.

Easter Grass

Dogs can be drawn to playing with and nibbling on the Easter grass that we use to decorate Easter baskets. This can pose a choking or intestinal obstruction hazard for them. Be sure to keep the entire Easter basket, filled with chocolate goodies and Easter grass, out of your dog's reach.

Easter Lilies

Easter lilies are a common decoration for homes during this holiday. If you have cats in your home, do not get Easter lilies. They are deadly to cats if even a small amount of any part of the plant is eaten. Dogs are not affected by Easter lilies quite as drastically, but they can develop GI irritation with vomiting and diarrhea from chewing on them.

Also, Easter lilies are prone to a certain type of fungus, the Botrytis fungi, which can cause illness in dogs if it is ingested. Often, Easter lilies are treated with insecticides to control the aphid that spreads the Botrytis fungi, and this insecticide can also make dogs sick if it is consumed.

While Easter lilies themselves are not toxic to dogs, other types of lily, such as peace lilies and calla lilies, are. Be sure to check your plants carefully before bringing them into your home, and keep them well out of reach of your animals, or use other types of Easter decorations, without strings, instead.

Keep your dog safe this Easter by avoiding human treats. Spending some extra time playing with him, going for a longer walk, or just a good cuddle session will make his holiday just as special.

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