Dogs At Easter Warning: Here are the hidden dangers of the holiday weekend - from chocolate to daffodils

Easter can present hidden dangers for dogs.Easter can present hidden dangers for dogs.
Easter can present hidden dangers for dogs. | Canva/Getty Images

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Easter is a fun family time for many of us, but there are a few things dog owners should keep their eye out for to avoid a rush to the vet.

Popular Easter treats can have deadly consequences for your pet, UK vets warn, as they urge pet owners to be vigilant with flowers, food and decorations around the holiday. 

According to pet insurance data, chocolate poisoning in dogs increases by a huge 123 per cent over Easter, but many other unknown Easter treats can be toxic to dogs and cats. 

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From lilies to hot cross buns, pet experts at TrustedHousesitters have spoken to vets to determine the biggest risks to our furry friends.

Here are seven things all pet owners should steer clear of - and some tips about chocolate poisioning courtesy of Petsure.


Chocolate may be a delicious treat for us humans but it’s sadly not one to share with our pets. So it’s important to keep an eye on our curious pups and recognise the symptoms of chocolate poisoning. Dr Corinne at Petsure has shared some warning signs that your canine friend might have eaten chocolate, what to do if your pet has eaten chocolate, and healthy alternative treats.

Warning signs of chocolate poisoning

A chemical called theobromine is what makes chocolate toxic to dogs. The darker the chocolate, the higher the level of theobromine and the more toxic it is. Chocolate can be poisonous to dogs, even in small amounts. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, excessive panting and thirst, hyperactivity, tremors, irregular breathing and even seizures. In severe cases, chocolate poisoning can be fatal.”

What to do if you suspect chocolate poisoning?

The most important thing is to act quickly as time is crucial. Contact your vet or the nearest emergency vet clinic immediately. If possible, you should also note the type and amount of chocolate eaten, as well as when it was eaten. Your dog’s size will impact how severely they’re affected by the amount of chocolate they have eaten. Never try to make your dog vomit up the chocolate at home. Common remedies like hydrogen peroxide or salt can make your pet very unwell and not always be effective. Veterinary surgeons have access to safe, effective medications that can make your dog sick and remove the potentially toxic chocolate before it can cause any harm.”

Safe alternatives for your dog this Easter

  • Carrot sticks: Crunchy and healthy - just make sure you supervise your dog while eating to avoid choking and keep carrot pieces small.

  • Frozen fruits: Bananas, blueberries, and strawberries are tasty and refreshing frozen treats in small quantities.

  • Homemade dog biscuits: You can bake these with dog-safe ingredients like oats, bananas, and natural peanut butter (make sure it’s Xylitol free).

  • Commercial dog chews: Choose safe, long-lasting chews appropriate for your dog's size and chewing habits.  Ask your vet for a recommendation if you are unsure of the best chews to feed.

Always check with your vet before feeding your dog anything new to make sure it suits their dietary needs.

Hot cross buns

The popular Easter hot cross buns contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs, such as raisins, currants, and spices. Nutmeg, which is prominent in many hot-cross buns, contains a toxin called myristicin, which can cause stomach issues if ingested. If consumed in large amounts, nutmeg may cause more severe symptoms such as increased heart rate, disorientation, abdominal pain, hallucinations and even seizures.

Roast dinner leftovers

While dinner leftovers may seem harmless, too much could spell danger. A sudden change in diet could lead to mild tummy troubles like vomiting or diarrhoea, but, in some cases, a serious episode of painful pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) could be triggered. Affected animals could require hospitalisation for support and treatment. Fatty foods are particularly to blame in susceptible individuals, so make sure you don't offer your pet meat rinds or any drippings/grease. Be careful to dispose of bones from your meat joint safely, as pets getting hold of them could mean a stressful and costly emergency pet visit. Both cooked and raw bones have the potential to cause an obstruction in your pet's digestive system. This could require emergency surgery to rectify.

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They may be stunning to look at, but lilies are a definite no-no for anyone with a pet. When sending flowers at Easter or any other special occasion, always check whether the recipient has pets and instruct florists to avoid lilies and other toxic flowers. Even eating a small amount of this flower can cause deadly kidney failure in cats. Multiple species of lilies are toxic, so it's best to avoid lilies altogether. Owners need to be especially cautious around Easter when these flowers are more popular.

Xylitol artificial sweetener

While most pet owners are aware of the risks of chocolate, another dangerous sweet treat to look out for is xylitol, an artificial sweetener often found in sugar-free Easter treats and cakes. In dogs, xylitol can cause them to release large amounts of insulin, leading to a rapid drop in blood sugar. If their blood sugar drops too low, severe hypoglycemia can occur, which causes symptoms like vomiting, weakness, collapse, seizures, and even death. Keep any artificial sweeteners that you might use for your baking well out of reach, alongside any sugar-free sweets or chocolates.

Easter decorations

Easter decorations are becoming more popular – but they could pose a risk to pets. "Curious cats and dogs could put themselves in danger by chewing or even accidentally eating these decorations. Fragile egg-shaped baubles could easily shatter, and small fluffy toy chicks are just the right size to be swallowed. This is why you should always keep any decorations out of reach from your pets", says Rebecca.


Daffodils are a popular Easter flower and start flowering in March-April. However, this plant is extremely poisonous for many pets, including cats and dogs. Your canine or feline friend will experience severe vomiting and health concerns if they ingest any part of a daffodil, but the bulb is particularly poisonous because it contains toxic alkaloids and glycosides.

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