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Keeping Easter Treats Safe

Easter eggs, hot cross buns & Easter lilies – treats for you, not your pets

Whether you commemorate and celebrate the religious significance or not, Easter for many means holidays, egg hunts, donning bunny ears, admiring lilies, and overindulging in hot cross buns and chocolate treats.

Whilst delightful for us, they are dangerous for our pets. Keep Easter treats out of reach!

Can dogs and cats eat chocolate?

No, chocolate is toxic to dogs and cats because it contains a natural stimulant called theobromine. Whilst we metabolise it easily, dogs and cats process theobromine very slowly, so it can accumulate in their system, resulting in dangerously high levels that become toxic. The affects can range from having an upset tummy to at the extreme end of killing them, depending on how much chocolate they have eaten and how big your pet is.

How much chocolate is dangerous for dogs and cats?

If your pet has ingested any amount of chocolate, big or small, you need to seek veterinary attention immediately. This way we can give you the best advice, including if we need to urgently make your pet vomit to help prevent any nasty side effects.

As a rule, the darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is. The more chocolate your pet has eaten versus their body weight, the worse it is.

Signs of chocolate toxicity in your pets

It may take 6-12 hours before your dog or cat show signs of chocolate toxicity.

Low levels can cause:

  • agitation
  • hyperactivity
  • gastrointestinal signs including drooling, vomiting, and diarrhoea
     

Medium levels cause cardiac signs, such as:

  • tachycardia (fast heart rate)
  • hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat)
     

High levels cause neurologic signs, including:

  • muscle tremors
  • twitching
  • seizures
     

Easter egg hunts

If you are hiding chocolate eggs for your kids to find, please ensure you count how many you hide and ensure all are found by humans, to prevent pets from having a sneaky unsafe chocolate snack.

Hot cross buns

Most hot cross buns contain a mixture of dried fruits like sultanas, raisins, and currants which are poisonous to dogs and cats, causing stomach issues and kidney failure.  

Dogs especially can become very unwell after eating even small amounts of grapes and similar dried fruits. Symptoms of poisoning can vary between dogs, and include vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pain, low energy, and reduced appetite. Some dogs are unaffected by the fruits, whereas others develop severe symptoms just a few hours after eating them.

Some hot cross buns may also contain chocolate, so do not feed any hot cross buns to your pets.

Easter lilies

Beautiful to look at and delicious to smell, sadly lilies are toxic to pets, especially to cats. Even licking lily pollen off their fur can lead to cats getting kidney failure.

The lily plants of greatest concern are any from the genus Lilium, including Easter lilies, Christmas lilies, tiger lilies, and Asiatic lilies, and from the genus Hemerocallis, including day lilies.

Ideally, if you own cats, do not plant, or have lilies as cut flowers inside. Signs your cat has lily poisoning include drooling/salivation, vomiting, loss of appetite, Increased urination, dehydration, depression, and lethargy.

Enjoy your Easter holidays and remember to keep Easter treats out of reach from your pets. Instead, offer your pet dog treats or cat treats made especially for them.

If you are concerned your pet has ingested any amount of chocolate, hot cross buns, or lilies, please call us immediately.

The above information is provided as an educational guide only and is not a substitute for advice from your pet’s healthcare professionals. If your pet’s symptoms continue, you are concerned about them, or want further information, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Disclaimer: This article provides general information only. It is not intended as medical or health advice and should not be relied on as a substitute for consultation with a qualified healthcare professional who understands your pet's individual needs.