“Chocolate contains a naturally occurring stimulant called theobromine, which is similar to caffeine. If enough theobromine is ingested it can be toxic to dogs and cats,” said Dr. Sarah Nold, staff veterinarian at Trupanion.
Trupanion traditionally sees a high number of chocolate toxicity claims around Easter.
Last year, in the month of April, Trupanion paid $31,757 in claims related to chocolate, flowers, jewelry, and other foreign body ingestions. This includes the fun-loving Labrador retriever who couldn’t resist the big bowl of chocolate and jelly beans he stumbled upon. After an emergency room visit and a $3,000 bill (covered by their Trupanion policy) the dog left the veterinary hospital a happy camper and was safe at home in time for Easter Sunday.
Easter lilies are bright, beautiful, and a staple floral decoration in the springtime. However, lilies are incredibly dangerous to our feline friends. In fact, lily toxicity is one of Trupanion’s most common and one of the most expensive toxicity claims, with an average claim cost of $830.
The toxins impact the kidneys and often cause symptoms like vomiting, drooling, lethargy, and appetite loss. Cats can develop tremors or go into seizures, and ingesting even a small piece of a lily plant can lead to kidney failure and death. Every part of the lily plant is toxic and cats can get sick even by licking pollen off their fur or drinking lily vase water.
There are plenty of other options for those who want to bring some fresh flowers and plants into their cat-friendly home this spring. Look for some cat-safe flowers like roses, snapdragons, gerbera daisies, sunflowers, or zinnias. Many herbs—like catnip—and ferns are also safe for pets and can help freshen the house and keep things green.