Dog Diddy lying down on the grass looking sad

Easter dangers for dogs

Key Easter treats your dog should avoid

  • Chocolate contains theobromine, which is toxic to dogs
  • Raisins, sultanas, currants and grapes can cause fatal kidney failure in dogs
  • Some spring bulbs and plants are poisonous to dogs, and some can be fatal if eaten

Easter eggs and hot cross buns are yummy Easter indulgences for us, but they are deadly to dogs so keep these seasonal treats to yourself. We’ve teamed up with the Veterinary Poisons Information Service to help you and your pet enjoy a happy Easter with this advice…

Easter eggs

Chocolate contains a chemical called ‘theobromine’, which is toxic to dogs.

Even small amounts of the stuff can cause:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • hyperactivity
  • tremors
  • seizures (or fits)
  • heart problems
  • death, in severe cases 

The darker the chocolate, the more potent the level of theobromine, and the more poisonous it is – and giving any type of chocolate to dogs must be avoided.

Even white chocolate, though it doesn't contain enough theobromine to cause toxicity, is fatty and can pose a potential risk of pancreatitis. 

Call your vet if you suspect or know that your dog has eaten chocolate.

Hot cross buns

Hot cross buns contain dried fruit, such as currants, sultanas and raisins – and all of these are toxic to dogs.

If your dog eats even a small quantity of these dried fruits (and grapes), they can suffer severe kidney failure which may be fatal.

Scientists don’t fully understand what it is in raisins, grapes and sultanas that makes them toxic to dogs. Some pets have ingested large quantities and felt no effects, but others – including large breeds - have died after eating just a few raisins.

Sharing just a little bit with your dog isn’t worth the risk of losing your best friend – avoid heartache by keeping them away from hot cross buns altogether.

Spring bulbs

Easter is the perfect time of year to give a gift of spring flowers and bulbs, but make sure you keep them well out of reach of your dog – particularly if they like to chew or dig in the garden.

Daffodils are poisonous to dogs if they eat the bulbs or flowers, or drink water from a vase with daffodils in.

They can give your dog an upset stomach, make them vomit, and make them very sleepy and wobbly. A dog that’s been poisoned by daffodils might also have fits.

Tulips can irritate your dog’s mouth and gastrointestinal tract. Normally they will only experience drooling, being sick and diarrhoea, but heart problems and difficulty breathing are also signs of tulip poisoning.

Other plants, flowers, fruit and vegetables listed below are poisonous to dogs. Those in bold are potentially fatal, so please take care to avoid these:

  • Apples (pips)
  • Apricots (kernel)
  • Azalea
  • Bluebells 
  • Buttercups
  • Cyclamen (root)
  • Daffodils/narcissus (blubs)
  • Elderberry
  • Foxglove (leaves and seeds)
  • Hyacinth (bulbs)
  • Ivy (whole plant)
  • Lupin (leaves, seeds)
  • Onion (causes anaemia)
  • Peach (stones and leaves)
  • Rhododendron
  • Rhubarb (leaves)
  • Sweetpea (stem)
  • Tulips
  • Wild cherry tree (twigs and foliage)
  • Yew (berries and foliage)

What should I do if I think my dog has been poisoned?

If you think your dog has been poisoned by anything, you need to act quickly. Contact your vet as soon as your pet shows signs of being ill.

It’s a good idea to write down the details of anything you think your dog has ingested, when they ate/drank it, how much they have swallowed, and what symptoms they have been experiencing.

If you have seen your dog eat something that they shouldn’t, don’t wait for symptoms to appear. Call your vet immediately and ask for their advice.

— Page last updated 15/03/2021