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Community newsANIMALS 101 – EASTER & ANIMALS

ANIMALS 101 – EASTER & ANIMALS
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ANIMALS 101 – EASTER GIFTS SHOULD NEVER INCLUDE LIVE ANIMALS AND WATCH OUT FOR THESE HOLIDAY HAZARDS!

Easter is around the corner and with Easter comes family gatherings, chocolate, Easter egg hunts and gifts. Please don’t use this occasion to give your children chicks and rabbits just because they asked for them and think that they look “cute.” Pet ownership is a huge commitment and responsibility and it’s not something that should be done on impulse. 

In addition, Easter, like every holiday, involves potential hazards for your pets, that every pet parent should be aware of, so make sure your pets avoid Easter goodies and decorations to avoid unexpected heartaches.

animals
Image by Dr. Karen Becker (Facebook page)

WHY GIVING A BUNNY (OR ANY ANIMAL) AS A GIFTS IS A TERRIBLE IDEA!

  • Animals are not and should never be seen as commodities. They are sentient beings and not disposable toys. Giving them as gifts sends the wrong message and is usually an impulse buy.
  • Animals are not gifts; they are many years of commitment. Rabbits generally live for 5 to 8 years depending on their environment and breed, but they can live for as long as 12 years. If you decide to adopt a rabbit, make sure you are prepared to care for them that long and sterlize them.
  • Children’s attention span will fit better with a stuffed toy than a sentient being whose needs should be a priority. Children lose interest quickly.
  • Tragically, many of the rabbits are abandoned in the weeks after Easter, once families begin to realize that caring for a rabbit is a major commitment. Many end up dead, abandoned, dumped on already overwhelmed shelters, or end up confined in outdoor hutches, before their first birthday.
  • Caring properly for a rabbit is complex. In general, rabbits need appropriate housing, exercise, socialization and a specific diet for good welfare. Rabbits are high-maintenance pets with many specific physical and emotional needs. It is not an ideal pet for kids! Rabbits may suffer from boredom and depression if they are kept in cages, so they need many hours of free-roaming time and mental stimulation every day in a spacious, rabbit-proof area. Rabbits also require a diet rich in hay and fresh vegetables. Some breeds of rabbits, particularly the longer-haired rabbits, may require daily grooming. You must understand their physical, dietary and social requirements, including the fact that most bunnies need friends, before getting them! 

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Image by Tree Hugging Pets

EASTER PET HAZARDS (by Dr. Karen Becker)

  • Chocolate goodies

Dogs are much more often the victims of chocolate poisoning than cats, because dogs like sweet-tasting things, and they’re indiscriminate eaters. Both theobromine and caffeine stimulate the central nervous system and heart muscle. They also relax smooth muscles, especially the bronchial muscles, and increase the production of urine by the kidneys. Even small amounts of chocolate can cause adverse reactions in pets, and the darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains.

  • Easter candy, baked goods and other products containing xylitol

Sadly, xylitol poisoning in dogs is reaching epidemic proportions. Just a few years ago, xylitol could be found in less than a hundred products, but today it can be found in a wide range of products. Xylitol is a sweetener that is highly toxic to dogs. Xylitol is used to sweeten a wide range of products, including sugar-free gum and mints, nicotine gum, chewable vitamins, certain prescription drugs, dental hygiene products and baked goods. It can also be purchased in granulated form as a sugar replacement to sweeten beverages, cereals and other foods.

  • Easter basket grass and other fillers

The plastic grass used in Easter baskets can look tasty to pets, but it can’t be absorbed into their bodies. This means it can become lodged at any point along the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and create serious problems. If the grass is a staple in your Easter baskets, consider substituting paper grass or tissue paper.

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Plastic eggs, foil wrappings and Easter toys can also be attractive to pets, so be sure to keep Easter baskets and their contents well out of the reach of your dog or cat.

If you hide hardboiled eggs in your house or yard for the kiddos to find, be sure to keep track of how many you hide and how many are found. You don’t want your pet to discover a rotten egg in a few weeks or months and eat it.

Also, keep in mind that plastic eggs can easily be cracked and produce small sharp shards that can cause injury if your pet swallows them.

If you dye your Easter eggs, make sure to use non-toxic food colouring.

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  • Easter lilies

A variety of lillies can potentially be toxic/deadly to pets, especially cats, but dogs too. Nontoxic varieties of lilies include the Calla, Peace and Peruvian. If a kitty swallows even a tiny amount of any portion of these plants, including the pollen, kidney failure can result.

  • Easter dinner

Most types of traditional holiday feasts for humans are entirely too fatty and otherwise problematic for dogs and cats. Easter dinners are no exception, especially when they include things like honey-glazed ham, scalloped potatoes, macaroni and cheese, bread, buns and desserts. Additional human foods to keep away from your pet due to their potential toxicity include onions, garlic, leeks and chives; grapes, raisins, sultanas and currants; and macadamia nuts. Cooked bones are also a no-no, along with alcohol.

  • Easter gardening supplies

If you plan to begin your spring gardening and yard work this weekend, be sure to avoid exposing your pet to chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. If you know or suspect your pet has eaten a potentially toxic substance, immediately contact your veterinarian!

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Keep your pet’s safety in mind this Easter and have a blessed one with loved ones. As April is prevention of cruelty to animals awarenss month, next week we will look at cruel animal practices you might be supporting unknowingly.

WHEN YOU KNOW BETTER, DO BETTER!

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ANIMALS 101 – EASTER & ANIMALS

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