Easter 2024: The 'other' Easter treat vets warn is toxic to your four-legged friends

We all know not to let our dogs get into anything chocolatey, but there's another holiday favourite which is just as dangerous
Chocolate eggs aren't the only Easter treat dangerous to pups (Photo: Adobe Stock)Chocolate eggs aren't the only Easter treat dangerous to pups (Photo: Adobe Stock)
Chocolate eggs aren't the only Easter treat dangerous to pups (Photo: Adobe Stock)

The humble hot cross bun could be just as dangerous as your pup getting into your Easter eggs, pet experts say, with the baked treats containing a cocktail of dangerous ingredients.

According to the Kennel Club, chocolate poisoning incidents in dogs double over the Easter period, with April cases 123% higher than every other time of year - excluding December. After speaking to vets, pet experts at TrustedHousesitters, a service which connects would-be travellers to trustworthy pet sitters, have shared a list of some of the other Easter treats which could pose a risk to your four-legged friend - with hot cross buns taking the top spot.

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The cross-emblazoned baked goods are thought to have originated in England, and have traditionally been enjoyed on Good Friday since at least the 1300s. However, they usually contain a number of ingredients that are toxic to dogs, including raisins, currants, and spices.

Hot cross buns have a cocktail of ingredients deadly to dogs (Photo: Adobe Stock)Hot cross buns have a cocktail of ingredients deadly to dogs (Photo: Adobe Stock)
Hot cross buns have a cocktail of ingredients deadly to dogs (Photo: Adobe Stock)

Nutmeg, which is prominent in many hot-cross buns, contains a toxin called myristicin - which can cause stomach issues if ingested. If consumed in large amounts, nutmeg may cause more severe symptoms such as increased heart rate, disorientation, abdominal pain, hallucinations and even seizures.

Raisins, currants, and all forms of grapes are also poisonous to pups, with the PDSA warning that they can cause gut problems and in serious cases, kidney failure. For some dogs, the toxic dose can be very small, and eating a few grapes could potentially kill them.

Other things to watch out for this Easter

There are a host of other Eastertime staples which can also pose a risk to your pet, TrustedHousesitters' head of community, Angela Laws, warned. "While Easter is a time for people to celebrate, keep a close eye on your furry friend and take extra care that any treats or flowers are safe and pet-friendly, to help avoid urgent, stressful and potentially costly emergency visits to the vet.

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"If you do notice any strange symptoms, keep a close eye on your pet and get straight in touch with a vet for expert advice," she added.

While roast dinner leftovers may seem harmless, too much could spell danger. Vet Rebecca MacMillan warned: "A sudden change in diet could lead to mild tummy troubles like vomiting or diarrhoea, but, in some cases, a serious episode of painful pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) could be triggered.

"Affected animals could require hospitalisation for support and treatment. Fatty foods are particularly to blame in susceptible individuals, so make sure you don't offer your pet meat rinds or any drippings/grease," she continued.

She also urged owners to also be sure to dispose of bones from their meat joint safely, as pets getting hold of them could mean a stressful and costly emergency pet visit. "Both cooked and raw bones have the potential to cause an obstruction in your pet's digestive system. This could require emergency surgery to rectify."

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Dog owners were also warned that if they were going to share any other human treats with their pups, they should make sure they did not contain xylitol - an artificial sweetener. "In dogs, xylitol can cause them to release large amounts of insulin, leading to a rapid drop in blood sugar. If their blood sugar drops too low, severe hypoglycaemia can occur, which causes symptoms like vomiting, weakness, collapse, seizures, and even death," Ms MacMillan said.

Unfortunately, pets aren't even safe from Easter décor, and it's best to keep decorations out of reach. "Curious cats and dogs could put themselves in danger by chewing or even accidentally eating these decorations. Fragile egg-shaped baubles could easily shatter, and small fluffy toy chicks are just the right size to be swallowed," she added.

A number of popular seasonal flowers, including daffodils, are also poisonous for many pets. Your cat or dog could experience severe vomiting if they ingest any part of a daffodil, but the bulb is particularly poisonous because it contains toxic alkaloids and glycosides.

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