Expert advice: Vet warns about Easter traditions that are dangerous to our pets



Vet warns about top Easter traditions that aren’t pet friendly

Easter is a fun time full of celebrations for the whole family, and it’s a great opportunity to spend some quality time with your pet but it’s important to be aware of the dangers that pose a threat to our beloved furry friends at this time of year.

On average, April sees a 54 per cent increase in dogs being poisoned by chocolate* compared to other times of the year, making it the second highest month for claims after the Christmas period.

To ensure Easter is a happy and safe time for you and your pet, Bella & Duke’s Chief Veterinary Consultant, Brendan Clarkelists his 5 top tips for making Easter safe for your pet, including which easter foods and springtime plants they should be avoiding.

1. Easter eggs and chocolate treats

Easter eggs and other chocolate treats are a definite no for pets. Chocolate contains a substance called theobromine which is toxic and really difficult for dogs and cats to metabolise. The level of toxicity depends on the darkness and concentration of the cacao, so a quality 85% dark chocolate is going to be much more toxic than one milk chocolate M&M but giving any type of chocolate to pets must be avoided. If you want to get your pet involved in the annual easter egg hunt, why not opt for some scrumptious venison treats.

2. Hot cross buns

Hot cross buns contain dried fruit such as raisins and sultanas, both of which are toxic to dogs and cats and can cause kidney damage. It’s important you ensure these are kept out of reach from your pet as even small quantities can cause a lot of damage.

3. Spring bulbs and flowers

Easter is beautiful time of year with spring flowers and bulbs in full bloom, but make sure you keep them well out of reach of your furry friend, particularly if they’re prone to chewing plants or digging up the garden.

Daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, and amaryllis are all common spring plants that are poisonous to both cats and dogs. They can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, tremors, and other dangerous side effects. It’s always really important to keep an eye on your dog to make sure it’s not eating anything nasty out on walks

Lilies, including Asiatic lilies and daylilies, can be harmful to both dogs and cats, however the consequences are far more severe in cats. The flowers, leaves, pollen (which may easily attach to your cat’s fur and then be mistakenly swallowed through the grooming process) are all deadly. Even the water from a vase holding lilies, if consumed, can be potentially lethal. Make sure if you receive any flower bouquets this spring, that they are well out of reach of your pets. 

4.  Easter basket fillers and decorations

dog laying in bed surrounded by flowers

When gifting or receiving easter baskets, it can be tempting to let pets play with plastic grass and straw and tissue, but they can be easily swallowed and often lead to digestive issues, resulting in vomiting, bloating and dehydration. Always keep decorations and gifts out of reach and use pet-friendly toys instead.

5. Spring Cleaning

If you’re using Easter to tidy up the house with a bit of spring cleaning, it’s important to remember that many cleaning products can be dangerous to pets.

Common household cleaning products such as heavily scented disinfectants, bleach and laundry detergent are toxic and should be kept safely away from pets.

If you’re doing a spring clean, it’s a great opportunity to give your pet’s belongings a deep clean to remove dirt, hair, and bacteria, using pet-friendly products.

Brendan Clarke, Chief Veterinary Consultant at Bella & Duke said: “Easter can be such a fun time for the whole family, including our pets too. We all like to treat ourselves to festive treats such as easter eggs and hot cross buns, but it’s really important we know what’s good and bad for our pets’ health. The safest bet is to make sure easter chocolate is not left in reach of your pets, stick to raw food and natural treats for easter egg hunts and always be alert when out and about on spring walks.”

*The Kennel Club 2022

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