Many people look forward to Easter. Spring has finally sprung, early flowers are starting to bloom, and who doesn’t enjoy dyeing hard-boiled eggs or hunting for the plastic, treat-filled variety? With the excitement of these festivities, it can be easy to forget that some of our favorite Easter traditions are hazardous to our canine compadres. Read on for five common products to watch out for.
One of the staples of Easter is candy-filled plastic eggs that we like to hide in the house and/or yard for children (or adults!) to find. And if you really like to spoil the kids, you also fill a basket (left by the Easter bunny, of course) to the brim with the world’s best chocolatey creations (ahem, peanut butter eggs, anyone?).
Unfortunately, if your dog finds the spoils first, the results could be harmful, if not fatal. According to the ASPCA’s “Frequently Asked Questions” page, the methylxanthines in chocolate are poisonous and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and urination, and hyperactivity in dogs when ingested in large quantities. In extreme cases, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures, and even death can occur. This is especially dangerous for small dogs as even small amounts can be fatal.
2. (Rotten) Easter Eggs
One much-anticipated Easter activity is hard-boiling eggs, then dyeing them beautiful (or crazy) colors. They’re fun to look at for a while, but after we’re done looking at them, we might toss them outside to compost. If you happen to let your dog outside, he or she could end up eating the rotten eggs (yuck). While rotten eggs are not toxic to dogs, ingesting rotten eggs could upset their digestive system…not a fun time for anyone involved.
3. Easter Basket Grass
An Easter basket simply wouldn’t be an Easter basket without a nest of plastic green grass for the eggs to rest on. While this plastic grass makes an Easter basket esthetically pleasing and fun for the kids, it’s not so nice for our four-legged friends. Like many other plastics, Easter basket grass is not digestible by dogs, and so it can get caught in their GI tract. If the dog does not pass the “grass”, a blockage can form. This can be extremely dangerous and the vet bills can easily reach into the thousands of dollars.
4. Candy Wrappers
As we mentioned above, should your pet find the candy-filled eggs, it could spell disaster. It’s bad enough if your dog eats copious quantities of chocolate and other sugary candies that are toxic to pets, but it’s another issue should they also eat the wrappers. Just like the Easter basket grass we just mentioned, these plastic and foil candy wrappers are also not digestible by dogs, and so the story remains the same: Dog eats lots of candy. Dog also eats the wrappers. Dog doesn’t poop any wrappers. Dog starts vomiting and stops pooping. Dog ends up being rushed to the vet. Dog feels very sorry for itself.
5. Plastic Easter Eggs
We’ve mentioned the toxicity of the candy that commonly fills plastic Easter eggs, and we’ve also mentioned the intestinal irritation that can be caused by Easter basket “grass” and/or candy wrappers. But one thing we haven’t mentioned is the actual plastic Easter egg itself; the vessel that carries the tempting treats we love so much.
It should go without saying by now that if your dog attempts to eat plastic eggs, you could be dealing with a very sick pet in a short amount of time, especially considering that these plastic eggs are also a choking hazard. Should your pet succeed in eating a plastic egg (or two, or three) without choking, you can expect a very sick dog and a large vet bill.
We all look forward to celebrating the holidays. As such, Easter is another occasion filled with family fun, especially the eating of the left-over candy! However, Easter is also a time to remember that humans aren’t the only ones who could enjoy a little too much of a good thing. We hope that the information above will help to keep your canine family members safe this Easter.