Our Best Friends:
Easter hazard awareness

Holiday items poisonous to pets and rabbit adoption

By Vanessa Rose

This is the second in a series of articles on pet care called Our Best Friends, written by Vanessa Rose, founder and owner of Les Anges Gardiennes pet care services. Vanessa trained as a Veterinary Technician and has over 16 years of experience in providing professional pet care.

Easter invites a number of threats into the lives of our pets. The most notable one is poison, as many of the colourful items that we associate with the holiday are toxic to our pets. However, there are precautions you can take to keep your pets safe during the holiday while including them in the celebrations.

Be aware of poisons

Protect your pets by being aware of the different types of poisonous Easter items:

Xylitol is a type of artificial sweetener that is commonly found in candy, chocolate, and baked goods. Even in small doses, Xylitol is lethal to dogs. It can cause low blood sugar, liver failure, seizures and even a coma and may result in death. Symptoms of Xylitol poisoning include tremors, vomiting, weakness, lethargy and lack of coordination.

Chocolate is well known as a poison for dogs. It is very popular around Easter and may be hidden within a dog’s reach. Be very careful when walking your dog and watch where and what he is sniffing. Chocolate poison in dogs reaches it’s peak around Easter. The symptoms are similar to Xylitol poisoning and may additionally include: increased agitation, diarrhea, extreme thirst and an elevated heart rate.

Be very careful when walking your dog and watch where and what he is sniffing. Chocolate poison in dogs reaches it’s peak around Easter.

Easter grass
Easter grass is what is commonly placed on the bottom of Easter baskets. Cats are often curious about the colored grass and may attempt to ingest it. Therefore, it is very important to avoid purchasing this grass, or to keep it well away from your cats. If ingested, it may cause gastrointestinal obstruction.

Lilies are a spring flower, commonly used in bouquets. While they are not extremely toxic for dogs, they do pose a great threat to your feline’s health. If ingested, the pollen from lilies can result in rapid kidney failure. One of the most common symptoms associated with lily-poisoning is instant vomiting. Cats may also display signs of depression, dehydration and lack of appetite. It is very important, if you have cats, to not bring lilies into your home.

Daffodils are also commonly found in Easter bouquets. Ingestion of Daffodils in any form (bulb, plant or flower) can cause severe and immediate reactions. These include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and respiratory depression.

If you have any suspicions that your pet has consumed a toxin, it is very important that you call your veterinarian immediately and the 24 hour Emergency Animal Poison Control Center at 1-888-426-4435.

Rabbit adoption

During Easter holidays, a large number of rabbits are adopted out to new families. However, many of these rabbits are abandoned shortly after. It is important to note that rabbits are not low maintenance pets. Adopting a rabbit should be a family decision akin to adopting a cat or a dog.

You must ensure that you are financially ready to adopt a rabbit and upkeep its environment monthly. This includes housing, food, litter and veterinary bills. You must also be informed on what your rabbit needs to live a happy and healthy lifestyle. Proper nutrition is vital for your rabbit’s health and needs a focus on fiber. Make sure that your rabbit constantly has access to hay and grass.

‘It is important to note that rabbits are not low maintenance pets. Adopting a rabbit should be a family decision akin to adopting a cat or a dog.’

Adopting a rabbit is a long term commitment. Rabbits can live up to ten years. Therefore, it is very important that you recognize that rabbits all have very unique personalities. When you have made the decision to adopt, make sure you ask a volunteer about the rabbit’s personality to make sure that it is a fitting addition to your family.

With that said, if you are looking to add a rabbit to you family, the best option is to adopt from the SPCA. The SPCA in Montreal receives around 250 rabbits per year. All are looking for loving, stable and permanent homes. You can go meet several of the rabbits that are living at the SPCA from noon to 7 pm, Monday to Friday. Volunteers are always available to answer your questions and help you find a rabbit that is perfect for you. Visit spca.com/en/adoption/rabbits-for-adoption

Have a great Easter holiday and remember to keep those tails wagging!

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Vanessa Rose - WestmountMag.ca

Vanessa Rose is the founder and owner of Les Anges Gardiennes pet care which offers a variety of services “to keep your pets safe, comfortable and loved”.

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  1. Anne Streeter

    Excellent advice regarding Easter hazards for pets and also the care of rabbits. I would, however, advise that people not buy rabbits at all – certainly not at Easter. These are simply impulse buys and more often than not are disposed of once the novelty wears off. The numbers that arrive at the SPCA each year after Easter, is testament to that. As well, rabbits are sweet but not maintenance free. Ideally, they should never be sold in pets shops and are often banned in certain municipalities with progressive animal laws.

  2. Georges Dupras

    Animals should not be an impulse buy. That said, a great deal of thought should be given the adoption of a companion animal. This is a lifetime commitment filled with responsibilities and adjustments, including knowing what may harm them.

    The first step in this learning curve is to stop considering animals as mere property.

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