Easter is a great time to catch up with friends and family and enjoy the festivities and of course chocolate! But it can be a potentially dangerous time for our pets with many toxins present in our favourite Easter treats.

Chocolate contains theobromine which is a derivative of caffeine and cannot be metabolised by dogs. Even the smallest amount of chocolate can be toxic to a dog. As a rule of thumb the darker the chocolate the worse it is but even white chocolate can cause problems. Symptoms of chocolate ingestion are vomiting, diarrhoea, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythms and seizures. If left untreated it can be fatal.
If your dog has ingested chocolate contact the Vet straight away, if possible please note how much was eaten and when it was eaten. Remember that dogs have an amazing sense of smell and will be able to sniff out chocolate so keep them locked away if you are planning to do an Easter Egg hunt or leaving eggs in the kid’s room as a surprise. Chocolate should be left up high in the pantry in case they decide to help themselves if the door is left open. Foil and plastic is no obstacle, dogs have been known to eat it all. Chocolate ingestion can also occur when dogs have access to cookies and cake.

Easter Lilies
These pretty flowers can be deadly to our feline friends. If cats ingest any part of a lily, including the petals, leaves, stems, pollen or the water from the vase it can cause kidney failure. Please contact the vet immediately if you think your cat has ingested a lily.

Easter Grass/Easter Chicks
Easter grass is the plastic stringy decoration placed in baskets and Easter chicks are the little fluffy toys placed on many Easter Eggs. Both of these pose dangers if ingested by your pet. They can cause damage to the intestinal tract and may become stuck in the abdomen which may lead to surgery to remove them.

Hot Cross Buns
Hot cross buns contain sultanas. Sultanas and grapes are toxic to dogs and can cause kidney damage. Ensure hot cross buns are kept away from your dog (including the chocolate chips ones) and if you have small children make sure if they drop any that you get to it before your dog does.

Human food/leftovers
Easter lunches and dinners can often include roasts and other delicious food. Unfortunately sharing this delicious food with your pet if it has a high fat content can cause pancreatitis. The pancreas becomes inflamed and creates pain and discomfort for the pet which requires intensive veterinary treatment. Foods to avoid include pork and ham, fat off cuts and anything else which has a high fat content. If in doubt stick to your pet’s regular diet and give them a treat of a baby carrot – they are sweet and crunchy. Don’t forget if you do have a roast to keep onions and garlic away from your dog as these are toxic to our canine buddies.