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As you’re getting ready for the arrival of the Easter Bunny, don’t forget to plan for how your dog will be involved in the holiday. Many of our favorite Easter treats and traditions can be dangerous for our dogs, but with some preparation, you’ll be able to enjoy your family traditions and keep your dog safe at the same time. You can even find ways to safely involve your pet in the day’s festivities.
Don’t Share Your Meal
Unfortunately, most of our favorite Easter treats are dangerous for our dogs. Some of these foods, like chocolate bunnies, are toxic for dogs. Other Easter foods may be dangerous because they are usually prepared with ingredients that are toxic for dogs, like onions, garlic, or xylitol. Other Easter snacks have high levels of salt or sugar, which can upset your dog’s stomach and aren’t healthy for them to eat.
Some common Easter foods which should be kept away from dogs include:
- Deviled eggs
- Chocolate eggs
- Mashed/twice-baked potatoes
- Carrot cake
- Green beans (if prepared with butter or spices); plain green beans are safe to share with your dog.
If you are going to have guests over for Easter brunch or dinner, be sure to keep an eye on your dog, as well as where people put plates to make sure they aren’t left unaccompanied in a location where your dog can reach.
Watch Your Glass
Many families enjoy having a drink at Easter but it’s important to not let your dog have a sip. Alcohol is toxic to dogs. Make sure that you and your guests don’t leave glasses containing alcohol on low coffee tables, on the floor, or anywhere else your dog can access it.
Egg Hunt Dangers
Easter egg hunts are fun for kids and families, but it’s a good idea to prevent your dog from getting involved. The energy of children running, laughing, yelling, and racing to grab eggs can be overstimulating for many dogs, who could begin to chase Easter egg hunters. Dogs may also grab eggs themselves. The excitement of the hunt could trigger resource guarding from dogs that might not want to relinquish the eggs they find.
The primary safety issue of Easter egg hunts for dogs is the plastic eggs, and everything put inside them. Dogs can grab and open the eggs, possibly chewing or swallowing the plastic, which could cut their mouth or cause an obstruction. Hidden chocolate and candy in Easter eggs can be especially harmful. Easter eggs also often come with small plastic and rubber toys which, if ingested, could be hazardous to your dog. It is best to keep your dog away from any egg hunts by keeping them on a leash or in another area of your home.
If you’re hosting an Easter egg hunt, keep track of all the places where the eggs are hidden. Once the event is over, be sure to double-check that all the eggs have been found and that none have been left where your dog can find them. Confirm that no eggs have been dropped by Easter egg hunters or left sitting out at a level where your dog can reach. Before letting out your dog, check your yard for any candy wrappers that may have accidentally been discarded on the ground. Foil from around chocolate bunnies and plastic candy wrappers may attractive to dogs, but it is not digestible.
Avoid Easter Lilies
Easter Lilies are beautiful but they shouldn’t be brought into homes with pets. Lilies are very popular gifts during the Easter season, but they are highly toxic to cats and dogs and can lead to kidney failure.
Supervise Easter Baskets
If you’re going to be creating and gifting Easter baskets, keep the baskets in a location where your dog cannot reach them. Easter baskets may contain plastic grass, which, if eaten by dogs, can lead to an obstruction and require emergency veterinary care.
A safer alternative is to purchase decorative Easter basket grass made from recycled paper. Consider making your dog their own festive dog-friendly Easter basket!
Dog Easter Baskets
Although many Easter traditions and gifts can be dangerous for our dogs, there are safe and enjoyable ways to involve your dog in the Easter festivities. You can make your dog their own Easter basket to open on Easter morning (with help and supervision). Easter basket treats perfect for dogs include festive toys and treats, as well as bandanas or outfits for the day (if you enjoy dressing your dog up, and your dog is comfortable wearing outfits).
Dog-Safe Easter Egg Hunt
Creating your dog’s own Easter egg hunt is a fun way to include them in the holiday. Hide small pieces of your dog’s favorite treats or toys around a room in your house, or in a fenced yard. Once you’ve hidden toys and treats, encourage them to start searching, then praise your dog as they find each hidden treat or toy. You can also use plastic Easter eggs to hide treats or scents (if you train in the sport of scent work) that your dog will search for.
If you’re going to hide treats or scents in plastic eggs, keep track of where all the eggs are hidden. Closely monitor your dog while they are searching. Once they find the egg, you can open the eggs and give them the treats inside or reward them if they find the scent inside.
If you have multiple dogs, it’s best to set up separate Easter “egg” hunts for each dog. Having each dog search separately will prevent any conflict, resource guarding, or bullying between dogs as they search for their treats and toys. Not only is this fun for your dog, but it’s also a great way to start training toward earning a Virtual Scent Work Title through AKC with your dog.
Create Space & Supervise
If you’re having guests over for a celebration, it’s important to supervise your dog to make sure they are comfortable, especially around children. If your dog gets overwhelmed with people in the house, it’s a good idea to have them leashed so you can support your dog in making good decisions.
Alternately, you can give your dog a treat-stuffed toy or dog-safe chew in their crate, or a quiet area of the house behind a door or dog/baby gate. This can help dogs to relax while visitors are in the house, or while you’re occupied with Easter festivities and can’t pay attention to them.