Easter candy fills the aisles at grocery stores these days. There are plenty of toys, too, including stuffed bunnies–a far better gift than real live rabbits that need special care. Here’s my yearly caution about Easter candy and other goodies around pets. Refer to this post about other Easter dangers for pets.
I’m a sucker for Easter candy, especially those chocolate bunnies. Many folks love to fill the kid’s Easter baskets with sweets. But chocolate indulgence can turn your Easter candy celebration into a pet-astic calamity. It happens with Halloween chocolate, and chocolate on Valentine’s day, too.
Cats aren’t poisoned as often with Easter candy because they are a bit more discriminating about what they munch. But dogs often smell the candy right through the packaging, and eat it wrapper and all. Swallowed objects like foil or paper wrappers or the sticks off of suckers can cause intestinal blockage or damage, too.
EASTER CANDY CHOCOLATE TOXICITY
Any Easter candy indulgence can pose digestive upset with messy diarrhea results and a need for you to invest in a carpet cleaning service for the stains. But chocolate toxicity can actually kill your pet. Chocolate contains theobromine, a stimulant related to caffeine. Eating too much chocolate shifts your pet’s heart into overdrive.
Milk chocolate usually doesn’t cause life-threatening problems because it takes nearly two pounds of milk chocolate to poison a seven-pound pet. Baker’s chocolate can be deadly, though. It contains ten times as much theobromine as milk chocolate, which means a seven-pound pet only needs to eat two ounces to be poisoned. Licking chocolate frosting, lapping up cocoa mix, or gulping truffles—a very rich dark chocolate treat—causes vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, seizures, coma, and even death.
MAKE HIM VOMIT!
If you catch your pet snacking on such things, induce vomiting as soon as you can to get rid of the poison. You can make her vomit up to an hour after she’s eaten the chocolate, but sooner is better. After an hour, the toxin has probably moved out of her stomach into the intestines, and vomiting won’t get rid of it.
It can be dangerous to induce vomiting if the dog or cat acts woozy. They can inhale the material on its way up and suffocate. As long as she’s alert, there are several methods you can use to get rid of the chocolate. Call the veterinarian for further instructions after the pet has emptied her stomach. If you can’t induce vomiting after a couple of tries, prompt veterinary care is even more important.
Better yet, don’t bring dangerous treats into your house. Here’s a thought—you could give the extra chocolate to me. I’m willing to make the sacrifice and dispose of the deadly sweet treats to protect your pets.
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Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!
I think many pet owners are familiar with chocolate poisoning. Well, there are certain easter candies and sugar-free gums which contain xylitol. When these kinds of candies are ingested by your four-legged companion, the xylitol(5-carbon sugar alcohol) can cause vomiting, seizures, and in extreme cases liver failure etc. The symptoms of chocolate toxicity include- vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, increased heart rate, loss of appetite, loss of coordination, muscle rigidity etc. Better you should try to keep your pet far away from the jawbreakers that can make your pooch or tabby sick. Still, if you find any kind of deformity in your pet’s deportment, then you should contact an accomplished veterinarian for further treatment proceedings.
This is such a good reminder with Easter just around the corner. My family always used to do Easter egg hunts (of course, with chocolate eggs and baskets of candy/chocolate hidden around the house) and it’s definitely a real danger!
Making your pet vomit sounds really scary because like you said they can inhale as they are throwing up and suffocate on the thing coming back up (especially if it’s a candy wrapper). But I have a feeling in a situation like this you’ll just act instinctively to save your pet!
Great post – happy (almost) Easter!
Thanks Jaimee! Yes, always good to be prepared. I need to do another post on Heimlich for pets. *s*
I had to grab Rosie today. She had her snout in a bag of Werthers Hard Candies. Not chocolate, but not particularly healthy for humans, let alone dogs.
She also loves butter. Can’t leave it on the counter, she’ll eat a pound in seconds. I’m surprised she isn’t a real butter ball.
And yes, she’s a chocoholic. You can’t leave any type of chocolate in reach. Kleopatra is nearly as bad.
It all comes down to developing good habits. If you don’t, puppies will find and eat just about anything.
Ooooh, I love the Werthers candies! Seren-kitty loves butter, we really have to watch her.
I appreciate these reminders even though we already try to be very, very careful and (yes) we eat even less chocolate than we did before we had an indoor cat. It seems that though he was born feral he can be trusted not to eat anything that isn’t cat food but caution is always the way to go.
In suspected emergencies we always get our vet on the phone too.
And I also appreciate your willingness to help dispose of extra chocolates, Amy!
Brenda, it’s a tough job but somebody has to do it. *vbg*
Willing to sacrifice yourself for the pets and accept the chocolate? I like that in a person.
I’m generous that way. Ahem. *s*