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Easter Basket Dangers to Your Dog 



Pastel colored easter basket with dogs in easter eggs

With Easter fast approaching, The Beach Dog Daycare thought it would be important to address a few items that could be dangerous for your four-legged family members. By addressing these items we hope everyone in the family can have a safe and happy holiday. Easter baskets can pose hidden dangers for dogs. Items like chocolate, artificial sweeteners containing xylitol, plastic Easter grass, and foil candy wrappers can all be harmful or even toxic to dogs if consumed. Let’s chat about the dangers, the symptoms, and the precautions to keep your dog safe this Easter Holiday.




Cute dog with bunny ears in a pink easter egg

Easter Basket Dangers to Your Dog 


While an Easter basket is a child’s dream, it could be your dog's worst nightmare. There are many hidden dangers in an Easter basket that can be hazardous to your dog. Let’s pick through the basket one by one to reveal the items and the dangers they pose to your four-legged friend.   


Chocolate candies of all types are toxic to dogs. Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, which are toxic to dogs depending on the amount and type of chocolate. The darker and more pure the chocolate, the more dangerous.


Xylitol is an artificial sweetener found in many candies and gum that can cause a dangerous blood sugar crash in dogs with even small amounts. Smaller dog breeds are at higher risk when it comes to Xylitol. 


Plastic Easter grass can cause intestinal blockages or even perforations if ingested. Plastic Easter grass is not digestible. It’s also important to note, one single strand can be just as dangerous as a bunch. Watch for any plastic Easter grass that may mistakenly fall on the floor. 


Foil candy wrappers can also cause blockages and should be kept away from pets. Again, wrappers are not digestible and some foils will not show up on X-rays. Not only can wrappers cause blockages, they can cause internal lacerations. 




Cute dog with bunny ears in a blue easter egg

Making Easter Safer


There are several ways to avoid potential dangers and ensure your dog is safe throughout the Easter Holiday.


First, have dog-safe informative conversations with your kids. Explain in an age-appropriate manner the dangers the items in an Easter basket can have for the family pet. 

When kids are informed everyone can do better. 


Use shredded paper, or plastic-free Easter basket filler instead of plastic Easter grass. Dogs may try to eat the plastic grass, which can cause intestinal blockages if ingested. Plastic Easter grass is not biodegradable, or digestible. Go with a pet-friendly alternative.


Store Easter baskets up where dogs can not get into them, and make sure an adult supervises candy allocation for children. For best practices remove candy from baskets and store it in plastic containers with lid lock safe covers. 


Make sure kids and adults properly discard any candy wrappers securely in the trash bins. If your dog has behavioral issues with ‘getting into the trash.’ Be very diligent in training during the Easter season. 

 

Incorporate Dog-Friendly Easter Celebrations

 


Construct a doggy Easter egg hunt with toys or treats made for your pup. Instead of filling eggs with candy, use small pieces of dog treats or kibble instead. Your dog will have fun hunting for the eggs without getting into toxic human candy. Just make sure you do an egg count before hiding, and make sure all eggs are accounted for after the game. Again, keep plastic eggs away from your dog, and do not allow free access. Adults should provide snacks on a treat-by-treat basis. 


Take your dog on a special Easter walk or play fun games like fetch. An Easter walk including Fido is a great way of burning off those extra Easter dinner calories. Structure games for the kids that include the family fur babies. The kids will be entertained and your dog will be included. Engage them in activities they enjoy so they don't feel left out of the fun. 


Consider making a doggie Easter basket as part of the celebration. Fill it with safe toys, treats, a bandana, stuffed animals, or other dog-friendly items. Try baking some homemade dog treats for the baskets. Let your pup join in opening gifts on Easter morning. Having their own basket and receiving their own allocated treats, along with the children, incorporates them in snack time and could make them less interested in treats for the kids. Adult supervision of Easter basket snacks to both kids and dogs, provides controlled snacking, safe storage, and an easy way of ensuring wrappers are properly thrown away.  


With some simple precautions, you can allow your dog to celebrate Easter without putting them at risk. Focus on pet-safe alternatives to chocolate, xylitol candies, plastic grass, and other potential hazards. Your furry friend will still feel part of the festivities.




Cute dog wearing bunny ears

Recognizing symptoms 


Easter candies and decorations can cause a range of concerning symptoms in dogs if ingested. Here are some of the most common signs of toxicity to watch for:


Vomiting - One of the first signs of chocolate, xylitol, or other Easter candy toxicity is vomiting. You may see partially digested candy in the vomit. Vomiting may start within 15-30 minutes of ingestion.


Diarrhea - Along with vomiting, dogs may develop diarrhea after eating toxic candies or decorations. Diarrhea may be watery, bloody, or contain pieces of plastic grass. 


Lethargy - Lack of energy and lethargy are common as Easter toxicity progresses. The dog may seem weak, unwilling to move, and may collapse. 


Tremors/Seizures - With high doses of chocolate or xylitol, muscle tremors, shaking and seizures can occur. You may notice strange neurological signs like head bobbing, disorientation, or stumbling.


Rapid breathing and elevated heart rate - Dogs may start panting excessively and breathing rapidly as toxicity develops. Their heart rate may increase.


Drooling - Some dogs drool excessively after eating toxic foods. The drool may be thick and sticky. 


Abdominal pain - With intestinal blockages or irritation from candy wrappers or plastic grass, dogs may cry out, whine, or act tender when their belly is touched.


If you notice any concerning signs after your dog gets into Easter candies, call your veterinarian or pet poison control right away. Prompt treatment can help manage toxicity and avoid lasting harm.




Cute dog wearing bunny ears in a green easter egg

Seeking treatment


If you suspect your dog has ingested any of the dangerous Easter items, it is crucial to seek veterinary treatment immediately. Call your vet or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 as soon as possible. Many vets and emergency animal hospitals have staff available 24/7 to handle poisoning cases. 


When you call, be prepared to describe any symptoms your dog is exhibiting, along with details about the item ingested, estimated quantity, and time since ingestion. Having this information ready will help the vet determine the severity and recommend appropriate treatment steps. 


In many cases, the vet may advise you to induce vomiting at home using hydrogen peroxide. However, do not attempt to induce vomiting before speaking with the vet, as it can be dangerous in some situations. The vet may also instruct you to bring your dog in immediately for examination and treatment.


Time is of the essence when a dog ingests a toxic substance. The sooner you call for help after ingestion, the better the likely outcome. Even if your dog seems fine initially, call right away, as symptoms can develop quickly as toxins are absorbed. Immediate veterinary treatment greatly improves the chances of a full recovery. Never wait and see if symptoms materialize before contacting the vet.




Three cute dog's sitting in easter egg's

Conclusion


Preventing access to these items through vigilance and safe storage is the best way to keep our pets safe. Closely supervise children around pets when giving Easter treats. And be alert for any symptoms of toxicity like vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or seizures. Seek veterinary treatment immediately if poisoning is suspected.


While we want our pets to share in the fun of the holidays, a little planning and awareness go a long way in protecting them from potential Easter dangers. With some simple precautions, we can make sure Easter is a safe and enjoyable time for all members of the family, including our furry friends.


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