Vets aren’t fond of Christmas and Easter … there are too many dangerous temptations for curious and greedy pets!
Most people are now aware that chocolate is toxic, and potentially fatal, for dogs. High quality dark chocolate is the most dangerous, but bars of milk chocolate can cause illness in small dogs. Keep sweets away from dogs and keep a note of where you hide any treats on an Easter Egg hunt, so you can make sure none get left behind. If your dog does eat chocolate, give the vet as much information as you can about the quantity and cocoa content to enable them to work out what treatment will be required. Treatment usually involves making the dog sick (if the chocolate was eaten less than an hour before) followed by activated charcoal. If the dog shows signs of toxicity it may need hospitalisation for fluids and supportive care, but no specific antidote is available.
Take care with plants brought in to decorate the home at Easter, too. All parts of spring bulbs are toxic if eaten, and some lilies can be toxic to cats. Cats don’t need to chew on lilies; they can get kidney damage just from licking lily pollen from their coats. Artificial decorations may also pose a risk if pets decide to chew or swallow them. If your pet eats any real or artificial decoration, please contact your vet for advice.
Hopefully Easter Weekend will bring nice weather and some time off to spend with your dog; the ideal opportunity for a long country walk. If your dog is older or has known mobility issues do not plan an overly long walk, and perhaps choose one with lots of place to stop and sit, or shorter options if your dog starts to struggle. If your dog is nervous in crowds or with dogs be mindful of where you take them, perhaps choosing quieter places or walking at less popular times. Remember to keep your dog under control and in sight when walking in the countryside. Livestock may be around the corner in an apparently empty field, so keep your lead to hand and consider using a harness and long line if you don’t have excellent control and recall. Take special care in fields with cows and calves as cows can be very protective; it may be safer to go around the edge of a cattle field than to follow a footpath through a herd. If the weather is warm, carry some fresh water for your dog as puddles and ponds may not be safe to drink from.
If you are going away with your pet for an Easter break, consider using a collar tag with your holiday address and contact details on it - just in case you become separated. Some microchip companies also have an option to put in temporary contact details when you are on holiday or if your pet is in kennels. Make sure you know where the local vet is when travelling, just in case …