Southern Cross Pet Insurance alerts pet owners to Easter hazards

Company offers crucial tips for pet safety

Southern Cross Pet Insurance alerts pet owners to Easter hazards

Insurance News

By Roxanne Libatique

As New Zealand gears up for Easter celebrations, Southern Cross Pet Insurance (SCPI or Southern Cross) is issuing a caution to pet owners about the potential risks associated with cocoa-based products for their animal companions.

The company highlighted that chocolate, a popular Easter treat, contains theobromine, which is toxic to both cats and dogs and can lead to a spectrum of adverse reactions, from mild gastrointestinal upset to severe neurological issues, and in extreme cases, death.

Pet insurance claim emphasised danger of chocolates to dogs

A recent incident involving a whippet named Mia, covered by Southern Cross, underscored the danger.

After ingesting a peppermint chocolate bar she found in her owner's bag, Mia experienced a health scare that resulted in veterinary costs exceeding $1,500. Thankfully, with quick medical intervention, Mia recovered completely.

Kerri Murray, who serves as the national sales manager at SCPI and brings experience as a veterinary nurse, shed light on the financial repercussions of such incidents.

“We paid out over $300,000 for pet insurance claims for pet consumption of chocolate, raisins, and other harmful foods in 2022. The road to recovery can be very costly, especially if you don't have insurance to help foot the bill for treatment,” she said.

Potential pet hazards during Easter

Murray pointed out that while many pet owners are aware of the dangers of chocolate, pets can still access these treats, often left out inadvertently by owners. She emphasised the need for vigilance during festive seasons like Easter to prevent pets from consuming dangerous foods.

“Easter is a time for joy and celebration, but it's important to remember that some of our favourite treats can be harmful to our pets,” she said.

In addition to chocolate, Murray warned against other potential hazards during Easter, such as Easter lilies, which pose a significant risk to pets. These flowers are extremely toxic to cats and can cause discomfort in dogs.

How to keep pets safe during Easter

SCPI offered several preventative tips to keep pets safe during Easter:

  • Chocolate and other Easter treats should be kept well out of pets' reach, particularly during egg hunts.
  • Baked goods and desserts containing chocolate should be stored securely away from pets.
  • When hosting Easter gatherings, remind guests of the dangers of sharing chocolate with pets.
  • Be on the lookout for signs of chocolate poisoning in pets, which include vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, tremors, or seizures, and seek veterinary attention immediately if these symptoms are observed.

On the bright side, Southern Cross recently highlighted the health benefits of pet ownership.

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