March 26, 2023

The Hidden Toxins of Easter – How to Keep Pets Safe

By: The Humane Society of Greater Dayton

As many families celebrate Easter and Spring, it is wise to remember your pets. There are many items surrounding this time of year that can be dangerous if consumed by our pets. Here are just a few things to look out for.


Did you know Easter is the highest day of the year for calls concerning chocolate intoxication? This is because many Easter baskets are hidden or items are placed around homes and yards that are unattended. This gives your pets a perfect opportunity to sniff around and get into some trouble when it comes to chocolate. Along with caffeine, chocolate also contains a chemical called theobromine. Both of these items can be extremely toxic to dogs. The darker and less sweet the chocolate is, the higher the levels of caffeine and theobromine will be. If you do have chocolate, keep it out of reach of your pets at all times. Symptoms that your dog may have ingested chocolate include diarrhea, vomiting, abnormal or faster heart rates, hyperactivity, or even seizures. If this is the case, contact your veterinarian or nearest emergency veterinarian immediately.

Easter Candy

Many sugar-free candies, gums and baked goods contain an artificial sweetener called Xylitol. If consumed by your dog, Xylitol can quickly release insulin into your dog’s bloodstream. This can cause a quick and extreme drop in your dog’s blood sugar which can lead to liver failure or even death. Some symptoms that your pet may have ingested Xylitol include vomiting, lethargy, weakness or seizures. If any of these symptoms occur in your dog, you should consider it an emergency and should contact your veterinarian or emergency care center immediately.

Basket Fillers

Fake Easter grass can easily appear like a basket full of string to your cat. However, if your cat chews on this grass or swallows it the results could be bad. This plastic grass can result in an obstruction within your cat’s digestive system. This can cause some serious health problems for your pet including gastroenteritis or pancreatitis. Usually, these items have to also be surgically removed. If your cat exhibits symptoms such as vomiting, dehydration, diarrhea, weight loss, weakness, a loss of appetite or pain and bloating then you should contact your veterinarian immediately.

Easter Lilies

In general, lilies or daylilies are extremely toxic to cats. If consumed, they can cause kidney failure or even lead to death. They are so toxic that we recommend cat owners to not keep them in their homes. All parts of a lily can be deadly to your cats including the flower, leaves and pollen. In fact, even the water where the lilies are stored can be toxic if consumed. Any ingestion of lilies for your cat should be considered a medical emergency. If your cat shows symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, extreme thirst, or lethargy, contact your veterinarian immediately. Time is of the essence to save your cat’s life so you need to work quickly.

Raw Eggs

With all the dying of eggs this time of year, remember to cook those eggs first. Cooked eggs can be a great addition to a pet’s diet. However, just as in humans, raw eggs can be dangerous due to salmonella. While consuming small amounts of a raw egg will not cause huge health issues with your pets, if they do show signs such as vomiting or diarrhea you may want to consult your veterinarian.

Fatty Foods

You may be sitting down for your Easter dinner to enjoy a ham or lamb. Although your pets may beg for some table scraps, consuming too many fatty foods such as these proteins can upset your pet’s stomach. In more serious cases where a pet has consumed a large amount of fatty foods, pancreatitis could occur. This can cause lifelong problems or even result in death for your pets. If you believe your pet has eaten a large amount of something fatty, please contact your veterinarian immediately. Monitored medical care or even surgery may be required to save your animal.


If you believe your pet has consumed a poisonous item, you can also call the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. They are a wonderful resource to guide you on what steps you need to take and how quickly you need to react to a situation.

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