Watch Out for These Easter-Time Pet Hazards

Easter will be here soon! Planning to go away to egg hunt? Have your pup stay with us! Call to find out more about the fun treats we have to offer your pet during Easter week: (631) 243-0000.

Cat Owners: Beware the Easter Lily!

Beautiful, seasonal Easter lilies (and related plants in the lily family) are highly toxic to cats, and we mean all parts of the plant — petals, leaves, stem; even the pollen. Cats that ingest even a small amount of the plant material can suffer acute kidney failure. The first signs seen are vomiting and lethargy, and if untreated, may progress to kidney (renal) failure and death.

Fake Easter Grass

Be sure that your pet doesn’t get hold of any Easter tinsel or the the fake plastic grass we so love using to adorn our Easter baskets. Any time your dog or cat ingests something stringy like this, it can get wrapped or anchored around the base of the tongue or stomach and become unable to be passed. This can cause serious intestinal damage and may ultimately require expensive abdominal surgery. With this in mind, also keep an eye out for the cooking twine that often holds cuts of meat together!

The Perennial Favorite: Chocolate

Most dog owners know by now that chocolate is toxic to dogs. Easter is a day when chocolate abounds, and a day when children may leave their sweets unattended. Chocolate-related calls to the Pet Poison Hotline spike by nearly 200 percent during Easter week, so keep those chocolate eggs and bunnies in check.

Eggs, Real or Plastic

Discarded plastic eggshells tend to get trod on and broken, and the shards can wreak havoc on your pet’s paws, mouth and intestinal tract. Hardboiled eggs, too, can cause digestive issues for dogs. If you’re having an egg hunt, keep a written record of where you hide all the eggs, and make sure you collect any missed stragglers before you head in for dinner.

Ham & Pork

Pork roast and ham both have a high amount of fat, and your pet can develop serious stomach upset from eating fatty foods — especially small and obese pets. The extremely high salt content in ham, particularly, is another worry — most hams have enough salt to lead to neurological problems if your pet eats a large enough quantity.

Xylitol

Xylitol is an artificial sweetener used in many modern candies, gums, baked goods and products that include flavorings. Xylitol can be extremely toxic to dogs as well as ferrets, so keep up the vigilance!

 

Can Your Dog Tell How You’re Feeling?

A new study has found that dogs may be able to decipher human facial expressions. Scientists are calling the study, published in the Current Biology journal on February 12, 2015, the first measurable sign that animals can recognize facial emotional cues from humans.

The study used eleven different dogs of varying breeds to examine their reactions to differing pictures of human expressions. Using a touchscreen, the scientists trained the dogs to touch the screen for either a happy person’s face or a sad face. The dogs were shown either the top or the bottom of human faces to eliminate the possibility of responses to only smiles or teeth-baring.

The dogs were able to correctly pick out the respective faces with astounding accuracy that couldn’t be attributed to chance, the study claims. However, the researchers noted that the dogs assigned to the angry faces were slower to finish their tasks. One scientist involved in the study theorizes that this could be because angry faces can make dogs wary due to past experiences with angry humans. By contrast, dogs were drawn quickly to happy human faces because they may have recalled fond associations with belly rubs and treats.

The study concludes that dogs use their memories of real human emotions to assess similar features in other humans. This says a lot about their memory capabilities, intuitiveness, and empathy—things that until recently were not considered verifiable. However, apparently science is starting to agree with what pet owners have been saying all along!