Easter Baskets: Potentially Deadly Hazard for Pets

Easter Basket

Michelle TrejoFood, Health, Life, Shopping, TreatsLeave a Comment

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Besides Valentine’s Day, veterinarians warn pet owners that Easter weekend is one of the deadliest times of the year. As chocolate toxicity cases continue to rise, experts are noticing many pet owners remain unaware of the other potential hazards the Easter Bunny brings.

This year, make sure your holiday fun is pet-safe by being mindful of the following Easter hazards:


Chocolate is a well-known no-no for fido. Although dogs have higher complications to chocolate toxicity, cats can also experience similar symptoms. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) receives continuous calls regarding pets consuming chocolate during Easter weekend. Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM, reports, “Chocolate is made from the fruit (beans) of the cacao tree. Theobromine, a component of chocolate, is a toxic compound in chocolate. Caffeine is also present in chocolate and a toxic component, but in much smaller amounts than Theobromine. Both Theobromine and Caffeine are members of a drug class called Methylxanines.” While not all chocolate is created equally, PetMD discovered pets consuming darker chocolate is more dangerous.

Chocolate consumption can damage a pet’s central nervous system and cause gastrointestinal upset as well as pancreatitis. Other popular Easter food and ingredients that may cause a similar reaction include: ham, lamb, raisins, macadamia nuts, onions, garlic, chives, leeks, xylitol and alcohol.

Signs of chocolate poisoning usually appear within 6 to 12 hours after your dog has eaten it, may last up to 72 hours, and include the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Restlessness
  • Increased urination
  • Tremors
  • Elevated or abnormal heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Collapse and death

Pet-safety recommendation: Always be sure your pets cannot reach your Easter basket. It is important to educate others, especially children about what could happen if your dog eats chocolate. If you’re wanting to give your dog healthy Easter candy, sniff out this article here.

If you believe your dog ate chocolate, call your veterinarian immediately or call the Pet Poison Helpline (855-213-6680) for advice. 

Whether chocolate, plastic, or real, Easter eggs can cause serious problems for pets. As discussed earlier, the dangers of chocolate is a popular topic, but the dangers of plastic and real eggs may be less obvious. In rare cases, if plastic eggs are swallowed or inhaled, they can cause digestive and respiratory tract irritation or obstruction. On the other hand, dyed eggs often cause digestive issues, especially if they are leftover from a egg hunt.

Pet-safety recommendation: Consider writing down where you hid eggs and always be sure they’ve all been collected after your Easter egg hunts.


The basket filler can cause serious gastrointestinal track problems if your cat or dog eats it. ASPCA states, “Pets cannot absorb plastic Easter grass into their bodies, which means that it can become lodged in the gastrointestinal track and wreak havoc if consumed.” The filler poses a similar risk as Christmas tinsel and can become tangled in your pet’s stomach and bowels. If this occurs, your pet may be required to undergo immediate surgery.

Signs of your pet consumed plastic filler include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Decrease in appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Stomach Pain

Pet-safe replacement: Consider filling your Easter baskets with crumpled tissue paper instead.

If you believe your dog ate plastic easter grass, call your veterinarian immediately or call the Pet Poison Helpline (855-213-6680) for advice. 


Dogs are natural scavengers and will seek out any food or items to chew. Therefore, pet owners must be mindful that many woven baskets are treated with toxic chemicals, such as colored paint and/or gloss spray. When pets chew on Easter baskets, they can develop an upset stomach. Also, some baskets can cause splinters, too! Ouch!

Pet-safe recommendation: Select a colorful box, plastic basket or an untreated wood basket.

Lilies on table

Although plants are beautiful table and basket decoration, many plants are toxic to pets. During this time of year, Lilies can cause serious hazards within homes, especially for our feline friends. According to Dr. Justine Lee, DVM, DACVECC, “More dangerous, potentially fatal lilies are true lilies, and these include tiger, day, Asiatic, Easter and Japanese show lilies — all of which are highly toxic to cats! Even small ingestions (such as two to three petals or leaves) can result in severe acute kidney failure.”

*All members of the lily family are poisonous to pets. 

Pet-safe recommendation: Set the flowers in a place where pets can’t reach (ex: high countertop).  Always remember that many cats can jump; therefore, there’s really no safe place in your home for lilies.

Overall, please be very careful about keeping your pups away from toxic food and products this Easter holiday!
Happy Easter, everybunny!

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