Stay one step ahead and prepare your pet for Easter with our seasonal advice.
Keeping your pet safe at Easter
With the long Easter weekend approaching, we can help you with relevant advice to prepare your pet. It’s worth being aware of the risks that certain seasonal treats can pose.
Why you should avoid chocolate Easter treats?
Most Easter treats are made from chocolate, which contains theobromine, a chemical that can be poisonous to cats, dogs and rabbits. Dark chocolate and cooking chocolates have the highest levels of theobromine, although it’s also present in milk chocolate.
Depending on the size of the pet and the amount of chocolate eaten, the effects can vary from vomiting and diarrhoea to seizures, internal bleeding and even heart attacks.
What to do if you suspect your pet has eaten chocolate
If you think your pet has eaten chocolate, even a small amount, call your vet immediately so that they can advise you over the phone. Ideally, they should be seen within the hour. Don’t try to make your dog sick, as this can be dangerous. Our emergency 24-hour centres are open throughout the bank holiday weekend.
If you want to know more about products or substances that may harm your pet, use our poison checker.
How to prevent your pet from eating chocolate
Many pets, particularly dogs, will try their best to get to any chocolate lying around, so remember to keep it out of paw’s reach. This is particularly true of puppies; they will pretty much eat anything they can get hold of.
Make young children aware that chocolate is dangerous for pets
Young children may be unaware of the dangers of chocolate to pets and will often try and share their treats without you realising. Take the time to teach them that chocolate can make their beloved pet ill and remind them never to feed it to them.
Throw a pet-friendly Easter egg hunt
If you plan to do a chocolate Easter egg hunt, count the number of treats hidden and ensure the hunters get the same number back, to avoid leaving any behind for your pet to find later. Keep your pet well out of the way during the hunt to prevent them finding the eggs first.
Buy Easter treats that your dog or cat can eat
There are plenty of suitable pet treats that mean your pet can still join in the fun. Speak to your vet for their recommendations and remember to give treats sparingly. Treats can be highly calorific, so you should always reduce their normal food intake that day to maintain a balanced diet.
Other Easter Treats your dog or cat should avoid
Hot cross buns
While many pet owners understand the danger chocolate can pose, hot cross buns are another springtime treat that can be potentially harmful to animals. Raisins, sultanas and currants are all toxic to pets, causing vomiting, diarrhoea and, in some cases, kidney failure. Make sure you keep your pets away from them. Check more toxic foods you should avoid.
Easter basket fillers
Easter basket fillings such as plastic grass and straw are tempting playthings for pets, particularly cats, but they’re easily swallowed and can lead to digestive issues, resulting in vomiting, bloating and dehydration. Protect your pet from dangers by keeping them away from Easter baskets and other decorations.
Pet-friendly spring cleaning
If you're using the bank holiday weekend to spruce up their home with a bit of spring cleaning, don't forget that many cleaning products and equipment can be problematic for pets.
Common household cleaners, such as bleach and laundry detergent are toxic for pets; it’s advisable to keep all household cleaning products safely away from pets. You should also be careful with the use of heavily scented disinfectants and diffusers – they can also be harmful to nosey pets.
If you’re doing a spring clean, it’s a good time to give your pet’s belongings a deep clean to remove dirt, hair and bacteria. A nice clean bed and clean toys will set them up nicely, remember to use pet-safe products at this point.
Be wary of spring bulbs and flowers
Some common bulbs and their flowers are highly toxic to pets, resulting in vomiting, diarrhoea and disorientation. Dangerous bulbs include daffodils, narcissus, tulips, hyacinths, bluebells and lilies.
Fortunately, serious cases of poisoning caused by dogs eating toxic bulbs or plants are rare, though once spring arrives, our vets do see dogs with an upset stomach following an unwise garden snack.
It's always best to keep an eye on your dog when they’re out in the garden or woodland and if they are showing signs of being unwell, contact your vet immediately.
Lots of people celebrate Easter with yummy treats however taking your dog for a nice walk or playing with or grooming your cat may be a healthier alternative for your pet. You may wish to do a Easter treat hunt with your pet, hiding their favourite snacks. Never give a pet chocolate.
Easter can bring lots of excitement and is often a time to celebrate with friends and family, including our pets. Try to stick to your pets day-to-day routine so they don't become too unsettled and remember to give them access to a safe space if they need some down time to relax.
If you want to get your dog a treat for Easter then get creative! Take them on a brand new walk or do an Easter hunt with their favourite treats around the house. Be careful not to give too many treats to avoid an upset stomach.
Some pet stores sell Easter eggs for dogs, but these should be enjoyed as part of a healthy diet and fed in moderation. Much like humans, too many Easter treats in one sitting might cause an upset stomach.
We do not recommend dressing rabbits up as they can find it very stressful and can damage trust and the bond between them and the owner. Instead, why not take a cute photo of them outside munching on a juicy orange carrot?