What to look out for this Spring

Spring is such a lovely season, but it’s worth being aware that some of the plants and flowers we see at this time of year can cause serious harm to your cat or dog. Here’s a handy guide of some spring risks and hazards to be aware of to keep your pets safe.

Daffodils

Daffodils can be poisonous to dogs as they contain toxic alkaloids and glycosides – the highest levels are generally found in the bulbs, but poisoning can occur when dogs eat other parts of the plant including the flower and stems. The most common symptoms are gastrointestinal signs like vomiting and diarrhoea, but also abdominal pain, lethargy, dribbling and a raised body temperature.

Lilies

Lilies are extremely toxic, particularly to cats. There are a large number of toxic species of lily including Easter Lilies, Tiger Lilies, Japanese Lily and Daylily. All parts of the plant including the petals, pollen and leaves are poisonous and can result in severe toxicity. Symptoms may include vomiting, lethargy and your pet going off their food, as the toxin damages the kidneys and can lead to acute kidney failure. Prompt treatment is vital, if supportive treatment is initiated within a few hours then the prognosis is more hopeful.
Other species (such as Lily of the Valley and Peace Lilies) are also toxic, although the toxin is a little different from the rapidly fatal forms described above.

Tulips

Tulip bulbs, in particular, are irritating to the mouth and oesophagus, and can cause drooling, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhoea. If eaten in large quantities, it can affect their heart and breathing rate.

Chocolate

Although we all love a bit of chocolate at Easter, it’s super important to make sure that your pets don’t get any! Chocolate contains a harmful substance called theobromine which is poisonous to cats and dogs. The severity of the poisoning depends on how much has been eaten and what type of chocolate it is. Dark chocolate and raw cocoa contain more theobromine than milk or white chocolate. Symptoms of chocolate ingestion can include vomiting, diarrhoea, excitability, tremors/muscle twitching, seizures and heart problems. In some cases, it can be fatal.

Xylitol

Xylitol is a sugar-free sweetener that is found in a lot of sweets, chewing gum, cakes and baked goods. It’s very toxic to dogs as it causes hypoglycemic shock (low blood sugar levels), potentially seizures and in some cases can cause liver damage, which may be fatal. Toxicity can occur even if they’ve only eaten a very small amount. Symptoms can occur quite quickly – including vomiting, weakness, wobbliness, lethargy, tremors or seizures.

Compost

Mouldy food or compost can make your dog very poorly. Certain types of mould can cause tremors and seizures that can sometimes last for a couple of days. If you compost your food scraps, make sure they’re in a sealed container that your dog can’t get to.

Buzzing insects

Just like us, pets can experience allergic reactions if stung by bees, wasps or hornets, particularly young or inquisitive puppies! Symptoms include swelling at the site of the sting, often around the face or head. This often requires veterinary treatment, but usually responds well to medication.

Parasites

As the weather warms up as Spring sets in, ensure your pet is treated with an appropriate species and weight specific prescription flea product. This is also the time of year we start to see more ticks. Ticks can pass on a range of diseases including Lyme disease and Babesia. Check your pet regularly, and if you see a tick, remove it as soon as possible using a twisting movement with a specialist tick remover. Use a regular prescription tick preventative product to protect your pet from tick-borne diseases.

If you suspect your pet may have eaten anything mentioned in this guide or is showing any unusual symptoms, contact us immediately. The sooner your pet can be given life-saving treatment, the better the prognosis.