15 Easter Pet Dangers [Handy guide with safety tips and 24/7 vet helpline]
Easter is an exciting holiday, as it’s the first time after Winter we get to fully enjoy nice weather, sit in the garden and admire flowers everywhere.
Easter also calls for old traditions, like egg hunting, decorating baskets and snacking on hot cross buns.
But while those Easter treats are a delight for us, they might be poisonous for our pets.
Dogs might be tempted by the chocolate eggs and cats will be intrigued by the Easter grass in the basket, but those can harm them.
To help you avoid any stressful situation this Easter, we prepared this handy guide of the Easter pet dangers, how to prepare in advance to avoid the risk, and what to do if you notice your pet is endangered.
See the full list of Easter pet dangers below.
Easter Pet Poisons - Foods
Chocolate is part of a traditional feast, and while not dangerous to us, it is one of Easter pet poisons.
Dogs love chocolate [and all sweets] and are far more likely to be tempted by the chocolate treats than cats or rabbits, as the latter ones don’t have sweet tooth. Cats may be curious about chocolate and try it, but won’t continue eating it.
Why is Chocolate Poisonous to Dogs?
It’s worth remembering that not all chocolate is equal here - the darker the chocolate, the more it can affect your pet. It’s due to the toxic substance theobromine it contains. Darker chocolates contain more theobromine. White chocolate also contains this substance, yet in a smaller quantity; however white chocolate is quite fatty and can also affect your pet. Toxicity levels also depend on the size of your dog and the amount of chocolate eaten.
Dog Ate Chocolate Symptoms
Chocolate [or rather theobromine] can cause vomiting and diarrhea and because chocolate is a stimulant, the first thing you’ll notice in your dog is increased excitement, muscle twitching, it can also increase heart rate and blood pressure. Read what to do if your pet is affected.
2. Raw Eggs
Raw eggs can be dangerous for pets for the same reasons as for us - they can cause salmonella.
While salmonella poisoning from eggs is extremely rare, why take risks?
Cooked eggs are very beneficial for your pet, so we encourage adding them, but make sure your pet doesn’t eat a raw egg - e.g. if it’s dropped on the floor.
It’s worth to note that eating a small amount of raw egg will not cause any problem, yet larger amounts of raw egg can lead to biotin deficiency which can cause metabolic, nerve and digestion issues.
3. Easter Eggs
Easter egg can be dangerous for your dog due to the chocolate it contains, as discussed earlier. Please read why is chocolate poisonous to dogs.
4. Hot Cross Buns
These are Easter favorites - aromatic, spicy and sweet. However, tempting they may be for your pet, hot cross buns are one of Easter dog dangers.
The dried fruits in hot cross buns - raisins, sultanas and currants - are toxic for dogs. They can cause kidney failure, even if eaten in small quantities.
Some dogs are completely immune to them and can eat raisins without any problems, while others - especially larger breeds - can suffer toxicity.
So make sure hot cross buns are stored or covered this Easter - especially if you have a doggy who likes to jump on the table and help themselves to the leftovers after your Easter meal!
5. Xylitol in Candies and Baked Products
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener, commonly used in the sugar-free candy and sugar-free baked goods. It can also be found in sugar-free chewing gum and other household items, such as toothpaste and vitamins.
While totally safe for humans, xylitol can be one of Easter dog poisons.
It releases insulin into the dogs’ system causing a drastic drop in the blood sugar level. In some extreme cases, it may lead to death.
Xylitol poisoning starts taking effect as early as 30 minutes after digestion.
The main signs of xylitol poisoning are
- uncoordinated movements
Remarkably, only dogs are known to be affected by xylitol, as there were no such cases of cats, mainly due to the fact that cats are not tempted by the sweet products.
6. Easter Table Scraps
As mentioned earlier, any table leftovers after an Easter meal can be tempting for your pet, especially if they like to jump on the table after the feast.
Remember to cover any delicious goods after the meal. We recommend covering the food with heavy glass or metal cover domes, so your pets won’t be able to move them.
Easter Pet Dangers - Decorations
7. Food Coloring
Easter calls for painting eggs in different colors. While the natural food coloring is completely safe for your pet, it’s a good idea to double check the dye is toxic-free before buying it.
Researchers at the Pet Poisoning Helpline agree that it’s best to avoid giving any Easter foods containing dyes to your pet. Let’s keep in mind that the food paint poisoning is extremely rare, and most of the food dyes are completely safe.
8. Easter Candy Wrappers
Candy wrappers [on their own or with a chocolate treat inside] can cause trouble for your pet - whether it’s a cat or a dog. These plastic foil wrappers can get stuck in the throat or stick to the stomach wall and cause choking and digestion problems, or at least discomfort if not passed naturally. If the Easter chocolate is inside then that’s double trouble. While not fatal, these candy wrappers can simply cause a lot of discomfort for your pet, so it’s advised to keep them out of reach.
9. Easter Grass, Decorations and Basket Fillers
Easter grass is the green or yellow stringy fake grass that’s lining Easter baskets. Your pet will be tempted by it - be it a cat or a dog.
Cats are most commonly guilty of tasting Easter grass, as they are intrigued by anything that moves. Easter grass, moved by the wind, can be irresistible for your cat.
Not because of the toxins, but more due to the stringy structure, the Easter grass can get stuck in the cat’s mouth, under the tongue, or even wrap around the intestines.
It’s another one of Easter pet dangers to look out for.
Don’t be tempted to pull it out if a longer string is stuck inside the body - it might cause more damage. In most severe cases, this can lead to damage to the intestinal tract, which might require expensive abdominal surgery.
House Plants Poisonous to Dogs and Cats
Easter is the time when the gardens and table vases are filling up with blooming flowers, but some may be very toxic to your cat.
Specifically, lilies are one of Easter pet dangers.
Any part of the flower - the stem, leaves, pollen, flower - even the water in which lilies are kept - can be highly toxic. Cats can digest some of the lilies pollen while grooming, so even a small amount can be dangerous.
In most cases, the symptoms will appear within 6-12 hours from digestion and can include vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea, extreme thirst, seizure, kidney failure, or even lead to death, if untreated.
Early intervention and treatment is recommended and can save your cat’s life.
11. Easter Spring Bulbs
Spring bulbs are in abundance during Easter, when we start working in the garden. Your dog might be tempted to chew on some tasty flower bulbs, which can be toxic.
Daffodils are one of the main Easter dog dangers - both flowers and bulbs can be toxic - even the water from the daffodils vase.
That can lead to the stomach upset, vomiting and make your dog feel sleepy and wobbly.
While not extremely dangerous, the toxins found in tulips can irritate your dog’s mouth and intestinal tract. In more severe cases, the ingestion can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, heart problems and breathing difficulties.
14. Spring Crocus
These spring flowers are not highly toxic and can result in mild stomach upset if eaten. Read what to do if your pet is affected.Other plants, flowers, fruit, and vegetables can also be Easter pet poisons - so please make sure to avoid these:
- Apples (pips)
- Apricots (kernel)
- Cyclamen (root)
- Daffodils/Narcissus (blubs)
- Foxglove (leaves and seeds)
- Hyacinth (bulbs)
- Ivy (whole plant)
- Lupin (leaves, seeds)
- Onion (causes anaemia)
- Peach (stones and leaves)
- Rhubarb (leaves)
- Sweetpea (stem)
- Tulips Wild cherry tree (twigs and foliage)
- Yew (berries and foliage)
15. Easter pet poisons - Fertilizers
Many people start gardening on Easter holiday, and use handy fertilizers. Make sure these highly toxic substances are stored away - it’s also a good idea to keep your pet indoors while spraying the plants. Always read the product instructions, and wait until the garden has been watered or the ground is completely dry after spraying before you allow your dog into the garden.
How to prevent your pet from eating anything toxic this Easter?
Keeping the items out of your pet’s reach is the best solution. To stop your dog from eating any Easter chocolate eggs, keep your dog at home during the Easter egg hunt, so it’s not tempted to join in!
What to do if your pet is poisoned?
The best solution, if you suspect your dog ate chocolate or other Easter pet poison, is to call your veterinarian immediately for the advice.
If your dog has eaten a toxic substance in the last 2 hours, induced vomiting can be enough.
Refer also to Pet Poisoning Helpline online advice or call their 24/7 animal poison control center on (855) 764 7661.
For more serious cases, a vet treatment or a prescribed medication might be necessary in order to resolve the poisoning. Some dogs might be kept in the clinic overnight.
We’d suggest to prepare the list of the veterinary clinics open in your area during Easter and keep the list of contacts handy.
It’s also recommended to write down all the things your pet ate or drank most recently - that might come handy once the vet starts examining your pet.
As you can see there are plenty of Easter pet dangers. For your peace of mind, make sure to have the Pet Poisoning Helpline number ready and find the contact details of your veterinary clinic beforehand.
Make sure it’s open during the Easter holiday, and if not, contact the Affordable Animal Emergency 24/7 helpline to assist you during distress.
While the cases listed above are extremely rare, it’s best to be prepared.
Please contact us with any questions - and our team at Appleberry Attic™ is wishing you a peaceful and enjoyable time with your family and pets this Easter.
Share your Story!
Has your pet ever digested anything poisonous? Let us know - share your story in the comment section below and tell us what your pet has eaten, did it get sick, and what did you do? We'd love to hear from our readers, and help others learn from your experience. Share your story now!
Pet Poison Helpline: https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poisons/ | (855) 764-7661
Affordable Animal Emergency Clinic: https://emergencyvetpugetsound.com | 24/7 helpline (253) 939 6272 or (253) 939 2238
How to induce vomiting in your pet: https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/veterinarians/inducing-vomiting/
Top Four Easter Hazards for Pets: https://www.aspca.org/news/top-four-easter-hazards-pets
Easter and Springtime Hazards for Dogs and Cats: https://www.thesprucepets.com/springtime-hazards-for-dogs-3385524
6 Easter Pet Dangers: https://www.embracepetinsurance.com/waterbowl/article/easter-pet-dangers
Dogs at Easter: https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/health/dogs-at-easter
Easter Dangers for Pets: https://www.villagevet.co.uk/easter-danger-pets/
Easter Pet Dangers and How to Avoid Them: https://www.argospetinsurance.co.uk/we-talk-pet/easter-pet-dangers/
Easter Dangers: https://www.thehealthypetclub.co.uk/easter-dangers/
Easter Dangers for Dogs: https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/easter-dangers-dogs
10 Easter Dangers for Pets: https://www.petmd.com/dog/slideshows/10-easter-dangers-pets