Easter Dangers – Keep Your Pets Safe This Easter!


Easter is one of the best times of the year. Schools break up, the weather is improving, days are longer and families spend lots of time together.  This year especially,  there is the added bonus of being able to travel further and meet up with more family and friends as the Covid rules change on March 29th.

However, we still need to be really careful about what our pets are able to access and Easter has its own particular dangers to our family pets, especially with lots of family members coming and going.

Make sure you know the dangers for your pet over Easter and ensure that anything potentially dangerous is kept well out of reach of pets.

1. Chocolate.

Thankfully, most people are now aware that chocolate is poisonous to dogs.  It contains a chemical called theobromine, and even very small amounts can make your dog ill, with symptoms that include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Tremors or hyperactivity
  • Seizures
  • Heart problems
  • Death (in very severe cases)

The darker the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains and even white chocolate, which contains very little can still cause issues to pets, due to the very high fat content.

So keep those the chocolate eggs well out of reach of your pets and make sure that all children and visitors know the rules.

2. Hot Cross Buns.

Hot cross buns contain raisins, sultanas and other dried fruit, that can also be poisonous to some dogs.  Scientists are unable to confirm at present what is in grapes, sultanas and raisins that causes illness in dogs.  Some dogs can eat large quantities and be fine, while others ingest just a few and become seriously ill or even die.

It’s very important to keep them well out of reach of your dogs at all times and clear up any uneaten leftovers carefully.

3. Easter Lilies.

Easter lilies contain unknown toxins that can be fatal to cats.  The sweet smell seems to attract curious cats but the bright orange pollen is extremely dangerous.  It is deposited on cats’ fur as they brush against the flowers and ingested when the cats clean themselves.  Even very small amounts can lead to kidney failure.  These toxins do not seem to affect dogs.

4. Other Spring Flowers

It’s often traditional to give gifts of spring flowers and bulbs to friends and loved ones at Easter, but it’s important to be aware that some flowers are poisonous and many bulbs can cause illness in our pets.

Daffodils are poisonous to cats and dogs whether they drink water that daffodils have stood in or eat the flowers or the bulbs.  They can cause fits, an upset stomach with diarrhoea and vomiting and can make animals very sleepy.

Tulips can have similar affects but can also cause heart problems and breathing difficulties.

The following plants are potentially lethal to some dogs if consumed in high enough quantities:

  • Azalea
  • Bluebells
  • Cyclamen (root)
  • Foxglove (leaves and seeds)
  • Onion (causes anaemia)
  • Rhododendron
  • Rhubarb (leaves)
  • Yew (berries and foliage)

5. Easter Grass.

This is the colourful “grass” often used to line Easter baskets or as packaging for Easter products.  This often contains plastic and can be very harmful to pets’ digestive systems, often requiring surgery to remove it.

Cats particularly seem to be drawn to Easter grass so stick to coloured paper or other basket liners that are not so attractive and dangerous to pets.

6. Sweets and Sugar Free Products.

Human sweets should never be fed to pets due to the amount of sugar and fat that many contain.  And always be extremely careful of anything that is advertised as sugar-free as it could contain xylitol.  Xylitol is a common artificial sweetener, used in many human products, often used in peanut butter, that is fatal if ingested by dogs or cats.

7. Plastic Egg-shaped Decorations or Toys.

To dogs, these look very much like balls, but they are frequently much smaller than dog balls and are a potential choking hazard. Make sure that they are kept out of your pet’s reach.  If they do become swallowed or stuck in the throat, they are very difficult to remove.

What to do if you think that your dog has eaten something poisonous.

Prevent your dog from eating any more of the poisonous item. Speak to your vet immediately. Do not try to make the dog sick as this can cause further complications.

Provide your vet with the following information:

  1. What your dog has eaten (take a wrapper if you have it)
  2. How much he has eaten
  3. Any symptoms he has had
  4. Be prepared to take your pet in to the vet straight away

In order to keep your pets safe, keep everything potentially dangerous well out of reach and ensure that children and visitors all understand the risks.