They say a little bit of chocolate is good for our health – providing minerals, anti-oxidants and flavonoids – and frankly with the Easter bunny on his way – it doesn’t hurt to have another reason to gift friends and family and especially kids with choccy treats and rain-stuffed Hot Cross buns.

While it might be just our waistlines that suffer – do please keep in mind out pets have a much better sense of smell than people… so if you’re hiding those goodies all around the garden or even just around the house – be warned – your dog or cat could win the game of hide and seek – but you could, potentially lose your pet.

Each year, Pet Insurance Australia’s Nadia Crighton sees a dramatic jump in claims for pets requiring hospitalisation after their forbidden treat – plus she warns there’s another popular Easter gift of floral bouquets which can be just as deadly for our pets.
 
 

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TRANSCRIPT:

KAYE:
Now they say a little bit of chocolate, (that's a little bit NOT a lot Brian Pickering!!) is good for our health, providing minerals, antioxidants and flavonoids. And frankly, with the Easter Bunny on his way, it doesn't hurt to have yet another reason to gift friends and family, and especially kids with choccie treats and those raisins stuffed hot cross buns.

While it might be just our waistlines that suffer a little do please keep in mind that our pets have a much better sense of smell than people.  So if you're hiding those goodies all around the garden or even just around the house, be warned your dog or cat could win the game of hide and seek and you could,  unfortunately, potentially lose your pet.

Now each year. Pet Insurance, Australia's Nadia Crighton sees a dramatic jump in claims for pets requiring hospitalisation after their forbidden treat. Plus, she warns, there's another popular Easter gift of floral bouquets, which can be just as deadly for our pets.

BRIAN:
G'day to Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia. (Good morning, guys.) Or good evening or good afternoon. It depends when people are listening, of course, but they do have to be careful about a few things right over the whole Easter period. What is the pressing problem?

NADIA:
Well the main problem that we see and you guys would be aware of this...  is chocolate poisoning. It's that time of year where we normally have copious amounts in the house and for a scavenging hound or a feisty feline, they could have a little nibble and end up in quite a bit of trouble.

BRIAN:
Look, there's some wonderful... we'll call them memes out there graphics or whatever of dogs spewing up (yuck) everywhere. And it is a fact that it happens all the time. So what are some of the things we've got to do to kind of prevent this happening?

NADIA:
Well, I think the number one thing is just to remember that chocolate is very toxic to dogs and cats. So it's a good idea to make sure that you keep them out of reach. Remember, just to pick up the Easter egg. Make sure when you do your Easter egg Hunt after the Easter Bunny's been that all the chocolates are removed from the backyard and just simple things like that, just keeping it in mind.

I think that, and treating our pets as well over the Easter period, ensure that you maybe even develop a special treat jar just for pet sand encourage your guests and your children to treat out of that jar and not with chocolate or any other yummy kind of festive delights that we indulge in this time of year. Also remembering, though, to remove those calories from your pets diet, or you might end up with a very healthy pet, but quite round.

KAYE:
Well, I got lucky a few years ago that my dogs didn't get sick because my family had sent some Easter eggs with my nephew while he was visiting and the dogs got into his suitcase, and ate the  Easter eggs, foil and all! And it was just lucky that we didn't have to rush them to the emergency vet. So how many cases, I guess, does the Pet Insurance Australia team see, or claims do they get every year?

NADIA:
Now with just over a thousand for chocolate poisoning that came from our claims administrator, but you've got to remember, the actual figures could be a lot higher because this only really relates to those dogs and cats that actually have pet insurance. So the danger of chocolate is really being under-estimated by our pet lovers, and I think sometimes there's a lot of choc drops and things like that that are available in the pet market as treats.

So some people can be slightly confused that that kind of chocolate that is pet chocolate and chocolate for humans is completely different. And human grade chocolate will cause a huge amount of problems in your pets.

BRIAN:
Exactly. Yeah, they're quite different. There's a chemical essentially called Theobromine, which is in the chocolate. And that's a real no, no for pets.

KAYE:
I guess the biggest thing is just doing stories like this where we just advise people because a lot of new pet owners probably don't even know it. It wouldn't even cross their minds. It's like... “Oh, my dog loves chocolate!”  I'm sure he does, but it's not going to be very good for him in the long run.

NADIA:
No, most certainly. Look… I've talked to many children over my time being in the pet industry. We would go to pet shows and children would tell me that “ohh their dog's favourite treat in the world is Red M and Ms” and you think, Oh, my golly.

So it's just that education of reminding all members of the family, regardless of what age they are, that chocolate is just a big no no for our pets. And to think around this time of year where you may have more flowers in the house like lilies, or you might be jumping in thecar with your pet or having lots of Easter egg treats just to consider their safety.

Because the last thing that you want to do over such an amazing weekend where you've got all this ample time with your family is to be sitting in a veterinary hospital, absolutely terrified that your pet is very, very ill.

KAYE:
And of course, it's the dark chocolate that's even even worse. But any chocolate, all chocolate's a no no. Look, moving on to cats. What about cats? And what are some of the dangers presented to them over the Easter period?

NADIA:
Probably the lilies that would probably be the biggest one. We get so many lovely bouquets and flowers and things, (if you're lucky enough) from our beloved others in here, sometimes it's just worth checking that there's no lilies in there. And, you know, even check your yards If your cats are outdoor cats because the lilies can cause a huge amount of toxicity to cats. I remember hearing from an emergency vet that just eating a couple of petals can actually kill a cat.

KAYE:
It affects the kidneys, doesn't it? Most certainly. And it can happen quite quickly. And, look, it doesn't mean that you have to get rid of your lilies. I actually have a peace lily in my house. It's a beautiful peace lily I've had for many, many years that my children actually got me for Mother's Day. So when we got the new kitten, I really didn't want to give up my peace lily.

But hey!... we found a beautiful bird cage. We put the peace lily in the bird cage, and we hung it up, and it looks amazing, and everybody always comments about it, so I get to enjoy my beautiful peace lily. However the cat is very safe :-)

KAYE:
What a wonderful idea. We'll have to get a photo of your cat and the peace lily in the cage.

NADIA:
Most certainly.

KAYE:
Thank you very much Nadia, have a wonderful and safe Easter.

NADIA:
You, too.

BRIAN:
That was Nadia Crighton from Pet Insurance Australia. I have to say, I was smiling them when she said,"oh, we got a bird cage."I was thinking why you would put the cat in the cage!

KAYE:
Well, not a bad idea in some occasions, but I was laughing when she was muttering about getting those lucky enough to get floral bouquets. Hello!... Nadia and Brad... four beautiful children. I know for a fact, she's had lots of flowers.

BRIAN:
Exactly.

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