Forget the Easter treats – look out for the Easter threats!

Forget the Easter treats – look out for the Easter threats!

Every year our homes are over run with chocolate eggs at Easter time.  With an estimated 10 million dogs in the UK, no doubt there will be a few drooling mouths as you tuck into your Easter treats.  You may well think; what harm would a few cubes of chocolate do to your fury friend?

Actually, more than you’d realise.  Giving dogs and cats human chocolate they cannot digest can make them feel very unwell.  In fact, the British Veterinary Association recorded in 2016 that 81% of vets across the UK dealt with at least one case of toxic ingestion from chocolate in pets during the celebrations, whilst another survey by Direct Line Pet Insurance revealed 89% of vets had treated cases relating to chocolate within the last 12 months, at an average cost of £220.

While most owners are aware of the dangers, even a tiny treat can cause trouble; chocolate contains a compound called xanthines and ingestion can cause muscle tremors, difficultly in breathing, irregular heartbeats, and in some cases be fatal.  However it’s not just the chocolate you need to be wary of when it comes to your four legged friends…

Easter treats

Entertaining guests over the Easter weekend typically brings with it platefuls of nibbles such as nuts.  However, most varieties of nuts contain high amounts of phosphorus which can lead to bladder stones; as little as six nuts are enough to cause some dogs to develop muscular tremors and paralysis in their legs.  Hot cross buns are a common favourite around Easter time yet contain raisins, sultanas, lemon zest and the spice nutmeg.  These ingredients are toxic to animals causing all sorts of problems from hallucinations, increased heart rate and blood pressure to abdominal pain, seizures, and may even prove fatal.

The meal

Leftovers from the Easter as meal, such as chicken bones shouldn’t be given to your pet.  Bones can splinter easily causing damage to the intestine and can cause choking if they get stuck in your pet’s throat.  Stuffing often contains onions and garlic both these ingredients typically contain the toxic ingredient thiosulphate.  This can cause haemolytic anaemia, where the pet’s red blood cells burst while circulating in its body.

Easter flowers

At Easter many of our houses will be filled with spring flowers to decorate the table or be given as a gift from visitors.  In particular the Lilium of Hemerocallis species which include: tiger, day, Asiatic hybrid, Easter, Japanese Show, rubrum, stargazer, red, Western, and wood lilies, are highly toxic to cats.  Even the tiniest amount ingested can result in acute kidney failure or death.  Lily of the Valley may not kidney failure, but still may result in life-threatening heart arrhythmias or death when ingested by a cat.  So best to stay clear of these flowers altogether.

Easter gifts

Pets, especially dogs, are particularly curious of mystery packages especially Easter Egg shaped boxes!  So, make sure you keep any edible treats stored safely away.  If you’re decorating your house for Easter with fluffy chicks or bows, make sure you keep these out of reach from your pet.


Most of us enjoy a tipple during the Easter Bank Holiday, but remember that alcohol should be strictly kept in the hands of humans and away from furry paws!  Dogs are much more susceptible to the poisonous effects of alcohol and ingestion can lead to laboured breathing, behavioural changes, hypothermia, seizures and cardiac arrest.

Following these simple steps will help you and your furry friends have a happy and safe Easter.

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