Easter is one of our favourite times of the year. Lots of celebrations, family parties and of course, lots of chocolate! Unfortunately, it is also a period of the year which proves quite dangerous to our furry friends, below are a few hazards to be aware of and to try to prevent!

Chocolate is toxic to cats and dogs. It contains theobromine which is the active toxic ingredient. The darker the chocolate bar, the more dangerous it is to our pets, however, even small consumed amounts of theobromine can cause digestive or even heart problems. This means you should avoid giving any kind of chocolate to your pets.

While dogs will often scavenge and find chocolate to eat, cats normally only eat it when tempted to by an owner who thinks they are offering a nice treat. Chocolate is very fatty, so even if your pet consumes lots of white chocolate, damage to their intestines can occur and their pancreas may become inflamed.

If a dog is poisoned, they may show the following symptoms: restlessness, panting, sickness, diarrhoea, increased heart rate, increased thirst and increased urination. If they have consumed a large amount, they may have seizures, muscle tremors and they can even have heart failure.

Hot cross buns are a classic Easter treat but be careful not to give any leftovers to your pets, as raisins, currants and sultanas are toxic to dogs too. They can sometimes cause kidney failure (even in very small quantities) so it is best to avoid eating these around pets!

Foil wrapping paper can be dangerous. The beautifully coloured and perfectly decorated wrapping that our Easter chocolate and gifts come in looks awfully delicious to our pets… they often try to eat them. These can get stuck somewhere along the digestive tract. They may cause choking, indigestion, sickness and will often require surgical removal.

It is important to clean up your wrappers as soon as you have unwrapped your eggs and try to keep any food or presents out of reach of your pets prior to giving them too. If you want to do an Easter egg hunt, it would be a good idea to keep your animals indoors (especially if you know your pet can be greedy) to prevent them from sniffing out the treats and munching them before you’ve had the chance to find them yourself! Be sure to quickly tidy up any small toys given as gifts. These can easily be swallowed by pets leading to choking which could potentially be fatal. These are serious issues which are very easy to prevent!

What if my pet eats foil wrapping paper or chocolate or a toy?

Sometimes pets are fine and show no symptoms from eating chocolate, for other pets, the result could be a fatality. This depends on multiple things but includes, the size of your dog, the type of chocolate eaten and the amount of chocolate consumed. If your pets behaviour changes and they become quieter, go off their food, stop passing faeces, or show any of the symptoms listed above in the section regarding chocolate, a vet should be contacted as soon as possible. The sooner these cases are identified, the sooner they can be resolved

What other risks are there?

Easter is a very busy time of year. Try to ensure your pet still receives sufficient time and affection. Try to stay consistent with your routine by ensuring normal feeding times and exercise regimes are maintained as much as possible in order to maintain your pet’s happiness. Preventing boredom and hunger will help to control these Easter risks.

Easter also means we have entered Spring meaning the weather will be getting warmer, so if you do leave your pet for some time, ensure there is a cool floor or room they can go into if they need to. They also need sufficient water to keep them hydrated. New flowers and plants start to grow, some of which are toxic to pets.

Plant poisoning is less common than food intoxication, but if your pet has a tendency to eat plants, or you are thinking of growing new plants and are worried they might become a hazard, there is a huge list of toxic plants which we can advise on specifically if asked.

Sharing food or a little bit extra time away from your pet with your friends is not worth the potential risks and heartbreak it can cause. Be careful and reduce the risks… have an amazing Easter!