There's a lot to love about Easter. From egg hunts, to warm spring sunshine, it's a season of great joy. But it can also be a time that’s incredibly poisonous to pets, so it's important for owners take plenty of extra care.
A number of popular Easter goodies are toxic to dogs and cats, who love to sniff around at new foods and objects in the home. Whether it's blossoming flowers in the garden or hidden chocolate eggs around the house, be prepared for them to eat potentially dangerous foods.
"Our dogs are part of the family so it's only natural that we want to include them in our celebrations, and often, we express our love through food and the temptation to give them our leftovers or even making them a plate of their own is overwhelming," vet and Lily's Kitchen ambassador, Rory the Vet, tells Country Living.
"When looking at what we eat at Easter, there are a few hidden dangers which even in small amounts could make a dog poorly. My biggest bit of advice is to keep all these things well out of reach to avoid any emergency dashes to the vets and enjoy the long weekend with your pets."
12 Easter treats that are poisonous to pets
We spoke to the animal experts to reveal what foods, decorations and seasonal habits are can be harmful to our pets:
"With Spring comes the arrival of the Easter bunny, and while we humans may enjoy a feast of chocolate eggs, our pets will not. Chocolate contains an ingredient called theobromine, which is poisonous to dogs and cats. The purer the chocolate, the more theobromine it tends to have. Make sure to keep all chocolate, including cocoa powder and hot chocolate, out of reach of your pet this Easter. If they do get their paws on some chocolate, make sure to call your vet immediately," says Shaun Opperman Head Vet at Battersea Dogs and Cats to Country Living.
According to the Blue Cross, even the smallest amount of chocolate can cause dogs to feel unwell. Some of the symptoms include:
Seizures (or fits)
Death, in severe cases
2. Flowers and plants
"There are many flowers and plants that are poisonous to cats and dogs, and many of them are common houseplants. Lilies, daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, bluebells and many, many more common plants can be harmful to our pets, especially if the bulb is ingested."
"Symptoms of plant poisoning include drooling, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, an increased heart rate and increased respiratory rate. Make sure that any plant you bring home is pet-friendly, or consider spraying your plants with natural pet repellents (rather than chemical ones). If you think your pet may have poisoning, it’s vital to contact your vet as soon as possible," continues Shaun.
3. Hot cross buns
Hot cross buns are synonymous with Easter, however they can also be dangerous to our furry friends.
"Obviously, chocolate is a big no-no, but over my years I've also seen many dogs who've either been fed or secretly scoffed hot cross buns which can be potentially harmful because of the raisins, sultanas and currants which are all toxic to pets," explains Rory.
"Ingesting them is actually incredibly serious as some pets develop kidney failure after eating them which is often life threatening."
"Ticks are small insects that can spread diseases by transmitting bacteria and microbes when they bite. Ticks are common in woodland, grassland and heath-type areas, especially in the warmer months. After your dog or cat has been outside, run your hands over them to check for any ticks that they may have picked up – they’re normally easy to spot. If you do find a tick, it’s important to remove it quickly, to lessen the chances of your pet catching a disease."
"It’s important to remove a tick correctly; if you squeeze the tick, or leave its head inside your pet’s body, the risk of infection is increased. It is best to use a specifically designed device to twist the tick off which can be purchased from a pet shop," says Shaun.
5. Easter grass
"Colourful grasses are often used to line Easter baskets for Easter egg hunts or decoration. These usually contain plastic materials, which can be harmful to pets if swallowed. Try using alternatives like tissue paper instead to line your basket and keep all decorations out of reach from pets," continues Korina.
6. Spring bulbs
"All spring bulbs and often what grows out of them are poisonous to pets. Dogs are most likely to be affected as they can be curious when in the garden and root them up, especially when freshly planted in autumn or coming into flower in spring," says Korina.
7. Human sweets
"Don't feed your pet any human sweets or sweet treats, especially those that say they are sugar free as they may contain xylitol, which is a synthetic sweetener which is toxic to cats and dogs," explains Korina.
8. Roast dinner
"If we took a typical roast dinner for example, the things to avoid are stuffing as it contains onion and garlic and rich gravies which may contain high amounts of salt and fat from the meat which can cause stomach upsets," explains Rory.
9. Macadamia nuts
These nuts can make dogs wobbly, weak, shaky and sick, so keep the nut selection out of reach from your pets. "Some human foods, even in small amounts, can make your pet poorly, which can result in a trip to the vet over the Bank Holiday weekend. Arm yourself with the facts, and make sure all family and friends know what not to feed your pet while visiting," Andrew Moore, Resident veterinary consultant at Argos Pet Insurance explains to Country Living.
10. Blue cheeses
Cheeses are often consumed at Easter, but be careful as some of them are dangerous to our pets. Dogs can be allergic to roquefortine C, which is found in blue cheeses such as stilton, gorgonzola and roquefort.
11. Simnel cake
Much like hot cross buns, Simnel cake should also be kept away from dogs. Packed with dried fruit and spices and topped with sweet marzipan, this traditional Easter cake can leave pets feeling very unwell. While not toxic, the ingredients can be hard to digest and may cause an upset stomach.
12. Raisins, sultanas, currants and grapes
Often found in hot cross buns, ingredients such as raisins, sultanas, currants and grapes are all toxic to our four-legged friends.
"If your dog eats even a small quantity of these dried fruits (and grapes), they can suffer severe kidney failure which may be fatal," explain The Blue Cross. "Scientists don't fully understand what it is in raisins, grapes and sultanas that makes them toxic to dogs. Some pets have ingested large quantities and felt no effects, but others – including large breeds - have died after eating just a few raisins."
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