In search of ponies: Danger lurks on Easter


Sharna Johnson

Local columnist

Frilly sundresses and bonnets, perfect, tiny little bow ties and shiny shoes — Easter is a day for fancy duds and in the space of another sunrise, life will be about bright colors, fuzzy critters, treat baskets, and happy kiddos.

But amidst the celebratory tone of the day, dangers lurk for family pets.

Chief among them are Lilies, the symbol of purity, hope and life and an icon of Easter.

Lilies can be a death sentence for cats, according to a warning issued recently by the FDA.

As cat parents can attest, curious felines often have a hankering for foliage and indulge on grass and other greens, but there is severe trouble in store for the cat that chomps petals, leaves stems or essentially any part of the beautiful Easter flower.

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They can be so toxic in fact; all a curious feline need do is lick a dusting of lily pollen from their fur — acquired through a casual brush against a bloom — and in short time severe illness can ensue.

In a few hours, a cat will begin vomiting, followed by frequent urination as the kidneys begin to fail and ultimately shut down, bringing death within four to seven days of ingesting the plant.

Not all lilies will cause death – Easter, Tiger, Asiatic, Day, and Japanese Show lilies are considered the most dangerous – but all within the lily family will spell problems for cats, not the least of which are mouth, skin and stomach irritation.

In the event a cat does treat themselves to a lily or shows any symptoms after being exposed to the plant, the help of a veterinarian is imperative and the faster, the better their chances.

Luckily for the family pooch and household humans, lilies are just beautiful, albeit pungent, additions to the season. Of course they aren’t good eating and could cause stomach upset, but they aren’t as dangerous as they are to the cat.

Dogs, however, have their own perils to be on the lookout for.

Widely known as a no-no for canines, chocolate tops the list of Easter foes for dogs.

Chocolate, in all its glorious forms, contains two things that a dog’s system just can’t process — caffeine and a substance called theobromine.

Some dogs may experience toxicity after just a couple of ounces while others may have to eat the whole chocolate bunny to know they’re in trouble. So just because a pup downs a Kiss or two without problems, doesn’t mean he or she is exempt, nor does it mean it’s an old wives tale to be dismissed.

A dog suffering chocolate poisoning can experience symptoms ranging from vomiting and diarrhea to seizures, coma and ultimately death.

Another rising concern for dogs is xylitol, an artificial sweetener gaining in popularity and found in everything from candies to baked goods.

While it may make humans feel better about indulging in the sweets, dogs are in for trouble if they partake. Dropping blood sugar, blood clotting issues and fatal liver damage are but some of the prices the pup will pay for eating their human’s guilt-free treats.

And of course, don’t forget the eggs. Though not poisonous, large amounts of boiled eggs consumed by the dog are sure to bring unpleasantness to the household that even the most fragrant

Easter lily won’t be able to overcome.

Most days, pets have the enviable life, what with all their lounging, eating and play, but this season give a little extra care to the critters and enjoy Easter – it’s one of those special days you can be glad to be a human.

Sharna Johnson is a writer who is always searching for ponies. You can reach her at:

[email protected]


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