A Dog Owner’s Easter Survival Guide
Easter weekend is a great time to have family around and make the most of the last of the summer sun. A huge part of our families are our furry friends so here are six top tips to surviving Easter with your pooch!
- Chocolate is a no no!
There are lots of foods that we shouldn’t be feeding our dogs as they are poisonous to them. Chocolate contains caffeine and a chemical called Theobromine which must be avoided,
Theobromine is the chemical that gives dark chocolate its bitter taste. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is to dogs. Although white chocolate contains very little Theobromine, it is better to keep safe and avoid chocolate all together. Symptoms of Theobromine poisoning in dogs can include vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive water intake, excessive urination, panting, restlessness, muscle tremors and seizures. If you suspect your pooch has eaten some chocolate and is showing these symptoms, get them to a vet as quickly as you can.
- Don’t share hot cross buns with your pooch!
Hot cross buns usually contain chocolate chips or raisins which are both toxic to canines. Grapes and raisins can be fatally toxic to dogs. While the exact substance in grapes and raisins that causes the toxic reaction has not been pinpointed yet, this type of poisoning has been well documented. It can lead to severe kidney damage and failure. If your pooch has eaten a raisin (or a few) you may notice vomiting, diarrhoea, lethargy, restlessness or discomfort, seizures or muscle tremors. If you notice any of these symptoms, get your pooch to the vet asap!
- Supervise kids and your pooch at all times
It is very important to ensure children are supervised around your pooch at all times. Ensure kids aren’t feeding the dogs anything bad (i.e. chocolate) or annoying them.
According to BARK NZ, New Zealand’s only charity dedicated to providing free safety and animal related education, a very high percentage of reported dog bites around the world are towards children, and most are by dogs that the child is familiar with i.e. their own pet or a relative’s dog.
Dogs give off subtle signals when they are becoming uncomfortable and they are easy to miss if you are unsure what to look for. Practice looking for the following signals:
- Licking lips out of context (i.e. when there is no food present)
- Yawning when they are not tired
- Turning head away or moving away from whatever is making them uncomfortable
- Hunching over to make themselves look small
Growling is a very late signal given by pooches and by this time, it is very important to remove whatever is worrying them, or remove them from the area. Have your pooch’s bed or crate in a quiet area where they can pop themselves if they are feeling overwhelmed or tired. Remember to explain to children that this is a quiet area and that when your pooch is in there, he is to be left alone.
- Tire your pooch out before having people over
They are usually just as excited to see your guests as you are and some of our pups like to jump up on our friends and run around while we are trying to enjoy dinner! Luckily there is an easy fix for this! Prepare for the evening with a trip to the dog park, a long run or even a trip to the beach to make sure you pooch is tired for the evening. You can even give them a chew treat toy with a bit of yummy peanut butter in it to keep them busy for a while!
- Going away? Be prepared!
Whatever your destination, it is important to be prepared if you are taking your pooch with you. Here are a few things to consider before going on holiday:
- Find the nearest vet and save their number in your mobile phone in case you need it
- If there is an after-hours vet in the area, save their number in case of emergencies
- Take your pooch’s food and any medications they are on
- If you need them, take your pooch’s bed, water bowl and food bowl
- If your pooch is going to be around water, it can be a great idea to invest in a doggy life jacket!
- If you need a repeat of your pooch’s medication or you’re worried about your pooch in anyway, make sure you sort all of this before your vet closes for the long weekend.
- Someone else to look after your pooch?
Whether you prefer to have a friend look after your pooch, a dog sitter at home or use a kennel facility, make sure you prepare well and chose carefully.
More on that at another time.
Have a great Easter weekend!