Easter can be a fun and exciting time for many when we can enjoy a nice break and some much-needed downtime with our four-legged friends. Whether you’re enjoying nice long walks with your dog or tucking into your favourite chocolate egg, as a pet owner it’s important to remember the hazards for pets that can come with Easter time.

RVN Korina Stephens at Nutravet comments: “Digestive upset is common in dogs and cats, especially at this time of year with extra yummy treats and chocolate in the home. Keeping food not meant for them out of reach is important to help prevent this.

“Many pet owners see their pet as one of the family and like to include them in the celebrations or festivities. However, some human foods that we enjoy at this time of year and colourful flowers can give our pets sensitive tummies and may lead to an unwanted trip to the vets.”

1. Chocolate

Chocolate contains theobromine that pets can’t cope with, so even the smallest amount is not recommended. Try to keep all chocolate eggs and treats out of reach and let other family members know not to feed them to your pet. Keep some of your dog or cat’s favourite treats to hand while you’re enjoying your Easter egg to ensure they don’t beg or feel left out.

2. Hot Cross Buns

This yummy treat is synonymous with Easter and can contain raisins, currants or sultanas. These are all foods that are toxic to cats and dogs and could cause tummy upsets. Be sure to keep these out of reach, especially if your pet is left alone in the house.

3. Easter grass

Colourful grasses are often used to line Easter baskets for Easter egg hunts or decoration. These usually contain plastic materials, which can be harmful to pets if swallowed. Try using alternatives like tissue paper instead and keep all decorations out of reach from pets.

4. Flowers and plants

These can add some colour to our homes or gardens at this time of year but spring plants and flowers, such as daffodils and lilies can be toxic to our pets. Lilies contain unknown toxins that if ingested by cats can cause tummy upsets, even a small amount can result in kidney failure. Daffodils contain poisonous alkaloids that can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and excessive salivation in pets. The bulbs are the most dangerous part. 

5. Spring bulbs

All spring bulbs and often what grows out of them are poisonous to pets. Dogs are most likely to be affects as they can be curious when in the garden and root them up, especially when freshly planted in autumn or coming into flower in spring. 

6. Human sweets

Don’t feed your pet any human sweets or sweet treats, especially those that say they are sugar free as they may contain xylitol, which is a synthetic sweetener which is toxic to cats and dogs. 

7. Roast dinner

Many of us will sit down to enjoy a roast dinner this Easter, but it’s important to remember not to feed your pet scraps from the dinner table. Scraps of fatty pork or ham can lead to sensitive tummies. Tell other family members they should not feed table scraps to any pets. Give them some yummy treats to enjoy whilst you sit down for your dinner to stop them from begging. 

If you are worried that your pet may have eaten something they shouldn’t, consult your vet straight away. Your vet will be able to advise the best course of action dependant on what your pet has eaten or ingested.