Easter dangers for dogs
Easter can be a time for celebration with family – both pets and people – but be careful of the dangers to dogs, like chocolate.
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 treats your dog should avoid
The most important items to keep well away from your much-loved dog are:
- chocolate – contains theobromine, which is toxic to dogs
- raisins, sultanas, currants and grapes – they can all can cause fatal kidney failure in dogs
- some spring bulbs and plants that are poisonous to dogs – some can be fatal if eaten
Can dogs eat Easter eggs?
Easter eggs made of chocolate will contain a chemical called ‘theobromine’, which is toxic to dogs. Even small amounts of chocolate can cause:
- 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 – but giving any type of chocolate to dogs must be avoided. Even white chocolate, although it doesn't contain enough theobromine, is fatty and can pose a potential risk of upset tummies and even pancreatitis.
Call your vet if you suspect or know that your dog has eaten chocolate.
Some shops can sell dog-friendly Easter eggs and Easter dog treats, but make sure that you feed these in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
Hot cross buns and dogs
Hot cross buns which contain dried fruit, such as currants, sultanas and raisins, are all toxic to dogs. Even if your dog eats a small quantity of these dried fruits (and grapes), they can suffer severe kidney failure which may be fatal.
Scientists do not 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 is not worth the risk of losing your animal companion. Keep hot cross buns out of reach altogether.
Spring bulbs and dogs
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.
Dogs and daffodils
Daffodils, and other narcissus, 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.
Dogs and amaryllis
Usually potted indoors, amaryllis are sometimes given as gifts. But if your dog accidently eats it, it could cause vomiting, diarrhoea, stomach pain and tremors.
Dogs and hyacinths
Hyacinths (both the flowers and bulbs) can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and tremors in dogs. These are commonly given as gifts for indoors, and flower in spring.
Dogs and tulips
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 dangerous spring plants to dogs
It's best to keep all house plants out of reach, and to watch to make sure your dog is not eating anything nasty out on walks. Here's some common poisonous plants that you might see in spring.
- Azalea (part of the rhododendron family)
- Daffodils and other narcissus (read why these are dangerous above)
- Foxglove leaves and seeds
- Hyacinths (read why these are dangerous above)
- Spring crocus
- Tulips (read why these are dangerous above)
Read our longer list of poisonous plants to dogs.
What should I do if I think my dog has been poisoned?
If you think your dog has been poisoned by something, you need to act quickly. Speak to your vet straight away.
Common signs of poisoning in dogs include:
- hyperactivity or restlessness
- seizures (or fits)
It’s extremely helpful for vets if you keep any packaging and write down the details of anything you think your dog has ingested, eg when they ate or drank it, how much they have swallowed, and what symptoms they are experiencing.
If you have seen your dog eat something that they should not, don’t wait for symptoms to appear. Call your vet immediately and ask for their advice.
• 27 February 2023
• 26 February 2026