Easter treats your dog or cat must not eat
Written by Napo HQ
14th Apr 2022
9 min read
Be sure to keep chocolate Easter eggs, decorations, sweets, roast dinner, fruitcake, and too much cheese, away from your dog or cat this holiday. It's always best to call a vet if you think they've eaten something they really shouldn't have.
It’s hard not to love Easter and being able to spend a long weekend relaxing and munching on tasty treats. Even the odd April shower isn’t enough to dampen the fun.
However, some of our favourite Easter treats can be dangerous or even deadly to our dogs and cats. And nothing will ruin the holidays faster than an unexpected vet visit.
Making sure your pet doesn’t eat anything they shouldn’t this Easter will make sure your furry friend stays happy and healthy. It will also save you the stress of a sick pet and thecost of any vet bills
From hot cross buns to Easter eggs, many of the holiday treats we humans love can make our pets seriously sick. Read on to find out what Easter essentials are dangerous for dogs and cats, and how to keep your furry family members safe during the long weekend.
Easter eggs and other chocolates are what many of us love most about this time of year. While we humans love to indulge ourselves in tons of these sweet treats, you must make sure your dog or cat doesn’t eat any easter eggs or any other kind of chocolate.
Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine which is toxic to dogs and cats. (It’s also toxic to rabbits, and rodents.)
It can take several hours after eating chocolate before your pet shows any signs of illness. But due to the way some animals metabolise theobromine, it can stay in their system and continue to make them sick for several days.
Eating chocolate can cause the following symptoms:
- Increased thirst and urination
- Cardiac arrest
All kinds of chocolate are dangerous for dogs and cats and you should never feed any to your pet. However, dark chocolate and cocoa powder are more dangerous than other kinds of chocolate because they contain much more theobromine.
Remember to keep all chocolate and chocolate-flavoured treats out of paws’ reach this Easter, and all year round!
Hot cross buns
As well as Easter eggs, hot cross buns are another staple Easter treat. These sweet and sticky buns might make tasty toasted snacks (especially when they’re slathered in butter) but you can’t share them with your furry friend.
That’s because hot cross buns contain raisins, currants, and sultanas. These are all kinds of dried grapes, and grapes are highly toxic to dogs and cats.
Unfortunately, it’s not known why grapes are so dangerous to our pets. Plus, each dog’s reaction appears to be individual. In some cases, a single grape or raisin could prove life-threatening, so you must not let your dog eat any hot cross buns or any other food containing raisins or grapes.
One of the earliest symptoms of grape or raisin poisoning is vomiting and lethargy, which can occur within 24 hours of eating the fruits. Your dog or cat might also suffer from diarrhoea and a loss of appetite. More severe symptoms usually occur within 24-48 hours and indicate there has been damage to your pet's kidneys. If left untreated they can suffer from kidney failure and could die.
Symptoms of kidney failure in dogs and cats include:
- Loss of appetite
- Ammonia-smelling breath
- Increased or excessive thirst and urination
Simnel cake is a traditional fruitcake eaten at Easter. However, just like hot cross buns, these baked goodies are packed full of raisins, currants, and sultanas. As explained above, these are all kinds of dried grapes and are highly toxic to dogs and cats, and potentially deadly if your pet eats them.
Making nest cakes with cornflakes and chocolate is a fun (and scrummy) activity to enjoy with the kids, but your dog or cat definitely shouldn’t take part. Nest cakes and mini eggs all contain chocolate which is toxic to our pets.
Most of us will sit down on Easter Sunday to enjoy a mouthwatering roast dinner with our families. While some treats are absolutely fine, you shouldn’t share too many offcuts or table scraps of your roast dinner with your dog or cat, as the additional calories can lead to weight gain and obesity.
And although you might think you should give the dog a bone, you should never give your dog or cat any cooked bones from your roast dinner. Cooked bones splinter easily, which can cut your pet's mouth and cause horrific internal injuries like a punctured stomach or perforated intestine which will require life-saving surgery to treat.
We all know too much sugar is bad for you, and it’s the same for our dogs and cats. Pets shouldn’t eat human sweets because the large quantities of sugar contribute to weight gain and obesity, cause tooth decay, and could lead to diabetes.
Sugar-free sweets are arguably even more dangerous for your pet because they might contain the common sweetener Xylitol. Xylitol is highly poisonous to both dogs and cats, and eating just a tiny amount could cause serious illness.
Cheese is packed full of fat and salt, and too much of either can make your dog or cat sick. Most adult dogs are also lactose intolerant, and while cheese has lower lactose than milk or cream, eating a large amount can still cause them illness like stomach ache, diarrhoea, and flatulence.
Additionally, some types of cheese are toxic to dogs. You should never let your dog eat any sort of mouldy or blue cheese because the moulds inside them contain a chemical called Roquefortine C which is harmful to dogs. Soft cheeses should also be avoided for both dogs and cats, as they are especially high in lactose.
Although Easter grass isn’t something we eat, we often use it in baskets and goodie bags to decorate our edible Easter treats. This faux grass is usually made from long strips of plastic or coloured paper, which obviously isn’t edible. If your dog or cat manages to scoff some of this Easter grass, it could cause a painful obstruction in their gut that requires surgery to remove.
Spring flowers & bulbs
Many of the spring flowers and bulbs we love to decorate our houses and gardens with at this time of year are toxic to our pets. Some of the plants that could poison your pet include tulips, lilies, crocuses, hyacinths, bluebells, irises, and daffodils.
All parts of these flowers can be toxic to dogs and cats, and the bulbs are more dangerous than the flowers and stems. If you’re growing some seasonal flowers make sure they’re kept out of reach of your pets.
What happens if my pet eats something they shouldn’t this Easter?
If your pet has eaten anything that is potentially harmful or has suddenly become sick during the holidays, you must call your vet for advice.
If you’re concerned about covering the cost of vet bills, make sure you have a pet insurance plan in place. A comprehensive policy will help you pay for vet bills so you can focus on helping your furry friend to get better.
The Pet Perspective25 mins listen
Podcast #16: Regression and rebellion: what to expect when your dog hits the terrible teens, with Antonella Marsicano
Expert Q&A10 mins read
Top tips on how to train a puppy from a clinical animal behaviourist
Ask an expert10 mins read