Easter is right around the corner, and children aren’t the only ones who enjoy hunting for treats. Setting up a dog Easter egg hunt is a great way to test your pup’s sense of smell, and is a fun activity for the whole family — as long as safety remains a top priority. Here are some tips to help get things rolling.
Assemble your eggs
Any good Easter egg hunt needs two things: eggs and willing participants. Plastic eggs do, however, pose some risks for dogs. Choose large plastic eggs for your hunt so that your dog cannot swallow the eggs whole. If your dog shows signs of wanting to chomp down on the eggs, skip them altogether and just hide the treats to avoid ingestion of sharp plastic pieces.
Choose your treats
Your dog relies on his nose to find treats. Choose strong smelling ones to place in your eggs, and lead your pup to the first one to give him a hint about the game to come. As you progress throughout the hunt, reward him for discovering new eggs with an excited voice that will keep him motivated. You may also want to select smaller-sized treats so that your pet isn’t eating too many goodies in a short amount of time!
Leash the participants
Keeping your dog on a leash will help reduce the risk of accidental ingestion. It will also help you guide him towards hard-to-find eggs, and will reduce the risk of an altercation in multiple dog hunts. Organized Easter egg hunts for dogs will probably have leash rules already in place, and this is a good rule to enforce if you are hosting a hunt for your friends or organization.
Private parties are okay
Not all dogs enjoy hunting for eggs in groups. Dogs with food guarding behaviors, or who do not get along well with other canines, would do better with an individual Easter egg hunt. These are easy to arrange. Just set up personal hunts with each dog’s favorite treats and take turns if you have multiple pups participating.
Separate hunts for separate species
Easter egg hunts might be a great activity for the whole family, but make sure you don’t mix chocolate with dog treats. Keep dogs inside and away from Easter egg hunts with candy. Make sure you count all the candy eggs you hide for the kids to prevent your pup from accidentally eating a harmful substance. You may also want to count your dog’s Easter eggs to make sure he’s found them all. Doing this will ensure he doesn’t find some later and chew on the plastic.