Search Menu

AKC is a participant in affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to If you purchase a product through this article, we may receive a portion of the sale.

Egg hunts are a memorable springtime tradition for kids, but children aren’t the only ones who like hunting for treats. Setting up a dog-friendly “egg hunt” is a great way to test your pup’s sense of smell and scent game skills. Best of all, egg hunts can be assembled in your own yard, or even inside your home if you get creative. Egg hunts with your dog are a fun activity for the whole family, so long as safety remains a top priority. Here are some tips to help get your own canine egg hunt rolling this spring.

Assemble Your Dog-Friendly “Egg Hunt”

Any good plastic egg hunt needs at least two things – treat-filled eggs and willing participants. Plastic eggs are an ideal option for hiding little snacks for your dog. They can, however, pose some risks for dogs that you can avoid with some planning. Choose plastic eggs that are large enough to ensure that your dog cannot swallow them whole. If your dog insists on chewing on the plastic eggs, simply hide the Easter treats around your home or yard without using them. You could also use an alternative, such as a Kong toy. The idea is the same, and the game is still just as fun and enriching.

Labrador retriever sleeping near easter eggs.
©Michelle Guillermin -

Choose Your Dog Treats

Your dog relies on their nose to find rewards, so choose treats with an enticing smell that you know your dog enjoys. As you progress throughout the hunt, reward your dog for discovering new “eggs” or treats with an excited voice to keep them motivated.

You may also want to select smaller-sized snacks, so your pet isn’t eating too many treats in a short amount of time. Small, chewy treats that your dog can sniff out are a great egg hunt option. If your dog has a foundation in AKC Scent Work already, you can always have your dog hunt for scent instead of treats, and reward them accordingly when they find what the “egg” hides.

Watch and Manage Your Dog During the Hunt

If you’re doing your own “egg hunt” at home, and have your dog safely contained, then a leash is optional. For a publicly-organized dog “egg hunt,” participants will likely have leash rules they must adhere to. Keeping your dog on a leash is usually required by law, but it’ll also help reduce the risk of accidental plastic egg ingestion.

Beagle puppy playing with a basket of Easter eggs in the grass.
©Sherri Camp -

It also helps reduce the risk of unwanted interactions with other participants (human or canine) at a public event. Leashing your dog also allows you to help guide your dog toward hard-to-find eggs or treats. If you have your own fenced-in yard, off-leash egg hunts are OK. Just be sure to watch your dog to prevent them from ingesting anything you don’t want them to.

Not all dogs enjoy hunting for eggs with other dogs around. Dogs with resource guarding behaviors, or who don’t get along well with other dogs in general, would do better with an individual egg hunt that gives them more space to enjoy the activity. Just set up individual “egg hunts” with each dog’s favorite treats and create plenty of space between each participant. Take turns if you have multiple dogs participating.

Not All Egg Hunts Are Created Equal

“Egg hunts” can be a fun activity for the whole family, but just be certain you don’t mix up the chocolate you use for children’s egg hunts with your dog-treat “eggs.” Keep dogs inside and safely away from egg hunts when candy is involved so your dog doesn’t unintentionally ingest any human treat that could be toxic to them, or doesn’t sneak away with a plastic egg that a child may have dropped. You may also want to count your dog hunt “eggs” to make sure your dog has found them all. Doing this will ensure they don’t discover any later and chew up or swallow the plastic.

Now that you’re set with all the knowledge you need about egg hunts, it’s time to get started. Happy hunting!

Related article: Easter Safety and Activities for Dogs
Get Your Free AKC eBook

5 Tricks You’ll Want to Show Off

Are you looking for inspiration on new tricks to teach your dog? If the answer is yes, then this is the e-book for you!
*Turn off pop-up blocker to download
*Turn off pop-up blocker to download