Health | 1 Min Read

How to keep your dog safe this Easter

The Easter long weekend is a time for food, festivities and of course the famous family favourite Easter egg hunt. But unfortunately it’s also a classic time of year for people to run into issues with their dogs.

Just as the stomach is often the way to your pet’s heart, so, too, can it be the way to health issues. A holiday full of tasty chocolate and hot cross buns,  it can be tempting to sneak our beloved dogs a nibble of these delicious treats. Everything in moderation, right? Wrong when it comes to our dogs chocolate and raisins/sultanas. 

Raisins & dogs - here’s what to know

If your dog consumes grapes, sultanas or raisins, they can develop life-threatening kidney injury. If your pet survives the acute kidney injury, they may develop chronic kidney disease, which can lead to lifelong complications. 

Signs your dog may have consumed raisins or grapes

There are several signs that your dog may have helped themselves to hot cross buns and ingested raisins. Here’s what to look for:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dehydration
  • Reduced urine production or no urine output
  • Increased thirst
  • Bad breath
  • Collapse
  • Seizures

If you suspect that your dog has eaten grapes, raisins or sultanas, even if it’s a small amount, contact your nearest vet or emergency hospital immediately. The earlier that treatment is commenced, the better your pet’s chance of survival. 

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What makes chocolate potentially deadly to our dogs?

Cacao found in chocolate eggs and bunnies contains a compound called theobromine, as well as our favourite peppy friend caffeine. These are highly toxic to cats and dogs even in the smallest of quantities. Dogs can’t metabolise theobromine and caffeine as well as us humans can, which makes our pets more sensitive to the chemicals’ effects. 

Signs that your dog has eaten chocolate

If your pet sneaks a little taste of your Easter basket, clinical signs can differ based on how much they’re able to gobble up. For many dogs, the most common clinical signs include: 

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Hyperactivity, agitation and/or restlessness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Panting
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination

In severe cases, symptoms can include arrhythmias, muscle tremors, seizures and even death. Keep in mind that chocolate toxicity is dose dependent, with darker chocolate being the most dangerous. Since most chocolate is high in fat, it can cause gastric upset and potentially pancreatitis. If you suspect your dog has ingested chocolate or anything else they shouldn't have while you were hosting and toasting with friends and family during the holiday weekend, seek urgent veterinary advice and care. 

Here are our top tips for keeping your pets safe this Easter

  1. Don't feed your dog any extra foods. As tempting as it may be to sneak your pup a little holiday treat, stick to doggy-safe dog treats or healthy alternatives such as carrots. They’re not just for the Easter Bunny, you know!
  2. Keep Easter treats out of reach. Make sure all Easter treats and sweets are stored in a safe place where your dog cannot access them. This is good practice at all times for keeping your home safe for your dog.
  3. Be mindful of Easter decorations. It’s not just the eggs and buns that dogs will feast their eyes on. Easter decorations can also be dangerous if ingested by your dog. Keep them out of reach and properly dispose of any scraps.
  4. Watch your dog during Easter egg hunts. If you plan on having an Easter egg hunt, make sure your dog is supervised and cannot access any of the eggs. Plastic eggs can be a choking hazard, and some eggs may contain small toys or other items that can be harmful if ingested.
  5. Be cautious with Easter lilies. While they sure do look great, Easter lilies are particularly toxic to cats, so be sure not to have these plants or any lilies in your home.
  6. Stick to your dog's routine. Holidays can be stressful for pets, so try to keep your dog's schedule as normal as possible. Stick to their usual feeding, exercise and sleeping routine to help them feel more relaxed.
By following these tips, you can help ensure that your dog stays safe and healthy during Easter.