Expert vet guidance to ensure your pets' safety and happiness this Easter

Easter is a fun time of year with Easter egg hunts and sweets galore for us but it can also be quite hazardous to our four-legged friends if we aren’t careful.A lot of the things we enjoy at Easter, like chocolate, hot cross buns, seasonal flowers and lamb bones from a traditional spring roast lunch, can make our pets poorly. So, do you know how to keep your pet safe during Easter?
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Gemma Logan, Yorkshire party expert at Fizzbox, speaks to Lizzie Kwint BVetMed MBA (Open) MRCVS, partner and veterinary surgeon at Medivet to find out more.

Easter Eggs

Lizzie said: “Easter eggs can be delicious for us but easily make our dogs and cats poorly. Both dogs and cats have a bit of a sweet tooth so chocolate can be very tempting if left in reach.

Lizzie Kwint BVetMed MBA (Open) MRCVSLizzie Kwint BVetMed MBA (Open) MRCVS
Lizzie Kwint BVetMed MBA (Open) MRCVS
  • If eaten, this can cause signs such as nausea and vomiting, arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms), liver failure and even death in some cases.

  • The wrapping can be very tempting too and can cause mouth injuries and blockages should it be eaten.

  • It is best to keep these things locked away safely in the fridge or a cupboard to keep temptation out of reach.

  • If your dog or cat does eat chocolate, treatment is readily available but early treatment is the key. So, contact your vet straight away as they can give your pet something to make them sick and reduce the risk of them getting poorly.”

Spring Flowers

Some of the beautiful flowers we have at home over Easter can also make our pets poorly, as Lizzie explained:

  • Lilies - “Lilies can cause kidney failure if they are eaten or if cats and dogs get pollen on their coats, so please remind family members to avoid these flowers. Most florists will do pet friendly lily free bunches. If you think your animal has swallowed or got lily pollen on them, please call your vet immediately.”

  • Daffodils and Tulips - “Daffodils and tulips can also be toxic if eaten. As a general rule, if the flower has a bulb we want to keep it away from our pets. Signs of poisoning can vary greatly from upset tummies to difficulties breathing, seizures and death. If you are concerned your animal may have eaten these, please contact your vet immediately. Treatment is available but early intervention is needed for the best outcome.”

Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns are a firm favourite in many houses but it is important to keep them well out of reach of your pets as they contain raisins. Lizzie said: “Raisins can cause kidney failure in our dogs, cats and rabbits, Raisins are not dose dependant, meaning that even one raisin can make your animal poorly at one point or may cause no symptoms at all. It is not worth the risk of waiting to see if your pet will be fine as kidney failure is frequently seen even with small numbers eaten.”

“It is very important that your pet sees a vet ASAP if you think it has eaten anything containing raisins, so the vet can make them sick as this is the easiest way to avoid long term complications if they have raided the hot cross bun stash at home.”

“To avoid problems, we always store tasty treats well out of reach from your pets, which in our household means they must stay in the fridge as our naughty cats know how to open the bread bin and cupboard doors.”

Easter Lunch Bones

Lizzie explained: “Some other things we need to be careful with at home are the bones from our Easter lunch. Things like lamb and chicken bones can cause blockages and torn intestines as well as constipation should they chew on them. So, make sure you put them well out of the way once you have removed the meat.”

What Can We Give Our Dogs and Cats at Easter That is Safe for Them to Enjoy?

Lizzie Kwint BVetMed MBA (Open) MRCVS said there are plenty of options to treat your pets at Easter. She explained:

  • It is fine for dogs and cats to have small amounts of our Sunday roast as long as it is low in fat. Meat cooked with butter with the skin on or high fat meats like lamb are best avoided to prevent upset tummies. But some carrots, or vegetables make a delicious treat that a lot of dogs enjoy.

  • Dogs and cats can also enjoy a few treats over Easter and there are plenty of pre-made healthy doggy and cat Easter eggs and treats available.

  • Remember to reduce your pet’s food intake to compensate for the extra calories and, like us, limit the amount you give your pet.

  • Dogs and cats can also feel sick if they eat too many, as most treats are quite rich and can cause vomiting or loose stools in larger quantities.

Dog and Cat Friendly Easter Cookies Recipe

If you want to give your dog or cat a special treat over Easter, you can even make dog and cat friendly Easter cookies with the following recipe:

  • 1 banana, 225g of plain or gluten free flour, 3 tablespoons of xylitol free peanut butter and one egg. Mix together and shape as desired. You could even make them into cute bunny shapes. Cook for 30-35 minutes at gas mark 4 or 180c.

  • If your pet doesn’t like peanut butter, you can make cookies with a little blenderised tuna instead of peanut butter. Tuna must be in spring water not brine or oil.

What About Rabbits and Guinea Pigs at Easter?

Lizzie said: “We need to be careful as the same flowers that are toxic to dogs and cats can be toxic to rabbits and guinea pigs. We need to block off access to areas where plants like daffodils grow to prevent problems with pets nibbling them and keep flowers at home out of the way. Rabbits are very good at hopping onto the coffee table for a nibble of a pretty bunch.”

“Contrary to popular belief, carrots are actually not very good for rabbits or guinea pigs. They can lead to obesity and a build-up of sludge in the bladder if too many are eaten and can cause dental disease.”

What Can We Give Rabbits and Guinea Pigs as a Treat?

Lizzie explained: “We can treat our rabbits and guinea pigs with things like natural apple, willow or pear tree branches, dried flower mixes (made specifically for pets), herbs like parsley, coriander or mint leaves, leafy greens like watercress or kale or coloured food like squash or bell peppers. Remember these should be introduced in small amounts so as not to cause an upset tummy as they are quite rich. Remember 80% of your rabbit’s diet should be hay or fresh grass to help keep their teeth and tummy healthy.”