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The SPCA’s Food Safety Tips for Pet Owners at Easter

Media release

27 March 2018

The SPCA’s Food Safety Tips for Pet Owners at Easter

The SPCA is reminding pet owners to be extra vigilant about what their pets eat over the Easter season.

While many people are aware that chocolate is toxic to dogs, it is also toxic to cats and many other animals. Other Easter treats – including hot cross buns – can also be harmful to your pets.

Chocolate, raisins or sultanas found in hot cross buns, coffee, macadamia nuts and foil wrapping can cause internal damage and, in serious cases, lead to death.

Andrea Midgen, SPCA CEO, is reminding people to not share human food with animals and to think twice about leaving food in places that might be easily accessible to animals.

“It’s important to know that ignoring your dog’s pleading eyes or cat’s hopeful meows is actually in their best interest. Dogs, cats and other animals digest and metabolise food differently to humans, so what might be perfectly fine for us can be poisonous to them.”

Even pet owners who are careful about what they feed their pet need to be aware about the places their pet might find harmful food. Handbags, benchtops and rubbish bags are common places where pets will often find foods that can make them sick.

“Be mindful about pets joining in on Easter egg hunts – make sure they are not able to access areas where any chocolate is hidden,” says Ms Midgen.

“Also, please consider other animals that might find and ingest toxic foods and wrappers if they are left around. Please do not leave Easter eggs or other food outside for long and clean up all of the food so that birds, other wild animals and wandering pets do not find and eat these potentially dangerous items.”

“If you don't want your dogs to feel left out, specially formulated "dog chocolate" treats can be purchased from a pet store or the pet department in the supermarket. You can also find treats for cats and other pets. However, make sure your pets don’t over-indulge as they may get an upset stomach!”

If you think your pet has eaten something dangerous you should immediately call your vet clinic.

Foods Unsafe for Pets

1. Hot cross buns: raisins and sultanas (and grapes) can be deadly for dogs and cats. These items can cause severe kidney damage leading to renal failure – symptoms might include lethargy, excessive thirst, lack of appetite, dehydration and vomiting. In serious cases, this can be fatal.

2. Chocolate can cause elevated heart rate, seizures, vomiting and diarrhea in both cats and dogs (and many other animals).

3. Alcohol and coffee are both toxic for dogs, cats and many other animals.

4. Macadamia nuts contain a toxin that can cause weakness, depression, vomiting, wobbliness, tremors, hyperthermia, abdominal pain, lameness and stiffness.


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