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Dangers of Easter Treats For Pets

Dangers of Easter Treats For Pets

Dangers of Easter Treats For Pets

Easter is almost here, and while this time of year usually means an overindulgence of chocolate bunnies, marshmallow eggs and hot cross buns for our kids, it can also mean that jellybeans, marshmallows and candied eggs make their way out of the easter basket and shared with our eager to accept pets.

Candies can cause serious gastrointestinal disturbance for our dogs and Easter time just means we need to be more vigilant when chocolates are left at eye level waiting for our dogs and cats to self-serve. Leaving chocolates on a counter is like an open invitation for your pooch to share in the easter festivities. So, while the rest of the family is celebrating this joyous holiday, make sure your dogs and cats avoid the dangers of sugary treats and remain happy and healthy this Easter.

We have outlined a few common treats to avoid and the hidden toxic dangers that can severely affect the health of our animals.


Chocolate is always a potential danger for our furry friends but especially around Easter time. Even a small amount of chocolate to some cats and dogs can be devastating. Dark chocolate, sugar free, unsweetened and bitter chocolate are some of the most toxic because they contain the highest concentrations of caffeine and the toxin theobromine.

Like kids one of the most common signs of a sugar overload in dogs is hyperactivity. If your pet has ingested chocolate, some of the first symptoms and side effects can include vomiting, elevated or abnormal heart rates, diarrhea and in extreme cases even seizures.

Do not underestimate the dangers of chocolate ingestion, it can easily become an emergency and in some cases fatal. If you suspect your dog or cat has ingested chocolate or any easter candies contact one of our veterinarians on duty immediately.


One of the most threatening ingredients in easter treats is Xylitol, which is an artificial sweetener found in many chocolate products. Xylitol is so toxic to pets that within half an hour of consuming even a small amount of this artificial sweetener a dog can become lethargic, start vomiting, have difficulty standing or walking and experience a disturbing drop in blood sugar. Some animals may even experience seizures, develop internal haemorrhaging and suffer liver failure.

If the label says ‘sugar free’ it doesn’t mean it’s ok to feed to your pet.  Avoid feeding your pet any human sweet treats, especially those that say they are sugar free.

Easter Lilies

Easter lilies can make a beautiful bouquet, but they are extremely toxic to cats. Make sure that any plant you bring home is pet friendly. All parts of the lily are toxic, which means cats who simply groom pollen off their fur can be poisoned. Ingestion can lead to severe kidney damage, resulting in kidney failure within 1-3 days and potentially death if untreated.

If you notice excessive drooling, vomiting, nausea, diarrhoea, an increased heart rate and increased respiratory rate these are all signs of potential plant poisoning. If you think your pet may have poisoning, it’s vital to contact your vet as soon as possible.

Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns may be a treat for us but can be deadly for dogs. This is because sultanas, grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs even in small amounts. Symptoms typically develop a few hours after consumption and can include vomiting, abdominal pain, kidney failure and death if left untreated. Dogs have a nose for all things yummy so be sure to keep these out of reach from your pet, especially if they are left alone in the house.  

Easter Grass

Easter Grass is the shredded paper or cellophane often found at the bottom of Easter baskets. Composed of long threads, this “grass” is often tempting for a playful cat and it can become lodged in the intestine causing an obstruction if swallowed and may require surgery.

Top Tip: Instead of cellophane to line your easter baskets with, look at using a natural alternative or even tissue paper and keep all decorations out of reach from your pets.


Any Easter treats that contain nuts can make dogs or cat’s sick. Nuts can cause your dog to suffer from diarrhea, tremors and feel poorly fairly quickly. Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, macadamia and pecans should be avoided as they are often combined with other ingredients, for example chocolate that contains raisins, xylitol and are high in salt and could lead to accidental poisoning, so keep the nut selection out of reach and away from your pets.

Some human foods, even in small amounts, can make your pet poorly, make sure all family and friends know what not to feed your pet when visiting. While we love our animals, they are best not included in the Easter celebrations but rather rewarded with a specifically formulated canine treat, a brush, swim or walk, you may even need a good walk after the third hot cross bun!

If you are unsure of anything that your pet has swallowed then book in to see us sooner rather than later.  Call us urgently on 08 8340 0388 if you need to come in.

Port Road Vet Adelaide is Adelaide’s friendliest boutique vet looking after you and your pets.


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