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Paws off: Pet owners warned of dangers of Easter eggs, lilies and packaging ahead of Bank Holiday weekend

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The Easter weekend can be a "recipe for disaster" if dogs get their paws on chocolate eggs. Photo: Dogs trust

The Easter weekend can be a "recipe for disaster" if dogs get their paws on chocolate eggs. Photo: Dogs trust

The Easter weekend can be a "recipe for disaster" if dogs get their paws on chocolate eggs. Photo: Dogs trust

Easter can be a particularly lethal time for household pets, according to the DSPCA and Dog’s Trust.

Not only are Easter lily flowers extremely toxic if any part of the plant is ingested by a cat, both cats and dogs are also at risk of death if they eat any form of chocolate.

As Easter egg hunts get underway this weekend, Dog’s Trust is warning householders to be vigilant about keeping chocolate away from dogs as well as cats and ferrets.

The charity is urging pet owners not to give their pets any chocolate intended for human consumption.

It is also advising them to contact a vet immediately if an Easter egg or other form of chocolate is missing and they suspect the dog or cat may have ingested it on the sly.

“Given dogs’ keen sense of smell, it is best to keep chocolate out of sight and out of reach from your dog,” according to the charity.

“Chocolate can be poisonous to dogs so needs to be stored safely where dogs can’t access it. Chocolate contains theobromine, which is extremely toxic to dogs. The darker the chocolate, the greater the amount of theobromine. Toxic doses vary according to the size of dog and cocoa content of the chocolate,” it said.

Dogs Trust vet Desré Daly said: “If you suspect your dog has eaten chocolate, please contact your vet for advice immediately. Chocolate poisoning can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive thirst, excitability, drooling, seizures and potentially kidney and heart failure.

"It is helpful if you can tell your vet how much chocolate, and the type of chocolate, you think your dog may have ingested. If you have any packaging, take it with you to the vets. Unfortunately, there is no antidote for theobromine poisoning, therefore, the sooner veterinary treatment is implemented, the greater the dog’s chances of recovery.”

The charity also recommends that pet owners always have their local vet’s emergency number on hand just in case.

Meanwhile, the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (DSPCA) is also urging pet owners to be aware of the dangers of Easter gifts and packaging that can be lethal to animals.

Easter lilies or any form of lily is highly toxic to cats and can cause kidney failure and death if any part of the plant is ingested. Consequently the charity is urging cat owners not to bring lilies into the home or grow them in the garden.

It is also warning householders of the hidden dangers of Easter gifts and packaging that can prove fatal to pets.

“Easter basket decorations—including plastic grass—are dangerous to animals if ingested. The grass can become twisted within a pet’s intestines and can be fatal if not caught quickly enough. Often, the only solution is expensive surgery.

"Easter egg wrappers, plastic eggs and small toy parts can also pose a danger to pets. Keep your pet out of harm’s way by using tissue paper instead of plastic grass and doing a thorough clean-up after Easter celebrations,” the charity advised on its website.

Meanwhile, leading Irish pet retailer Petmania is offering a carry-out service for pet owners who do not want to venture inside the store to pick up pet food and other supplies.

The nationwide chain remains open during the Covid-19 crisis but customers can place their orders in advance by phone and have their purchases delivered directly to their car windows.

Online Editors