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Keeping your pet safe this Easter

Easter is a fun time of year, but it also poses some dangers for pets such as chocolate, wasp stings, flowers and slug pellets.

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Whether it’s caused by owners giving their pet an Easter egg as a present or chocolate is accidentally left within their reach, we see an influx of pets suffering from chocolate poisoning at this time of year. Pets getting their paws on chocolate means that Easter is now the second busiest time of year for cases of chocolate poisoning, just behind Christmas.

Chocolate is particularly toxic to dogs, as it contains caffeine and theobromine, two substances that dogs are incredibly sensitive to. Dark chocolate is the biggest danger to dogs, and is more likely to cause medical complications than regular milk or white chocolate.

The level of toxicity also depends on the size of the dog, the type and the amount of chocolate but for most dogs even small amounts of chocolate can trigger unpleasant reactions. The usual signs of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhoea, increased body temperature and heart rate, rapid breathing and can even lead to seizures and cardiac failure.

In order for owners and their pets to enjoy a happy Easter together, the best option is to keep all chocolate out of their reach and give them an animal-friendly treat instead, like a dental chew or even special dog friendly ‘chocolate’ treats.

Although there aren’t as many cases of chocolate poisoning for cats, rabbits and rodents, they can all still suffer from health issues after digesting chocolate. If you suspect your pet has eaten chocolate, then it is always safest to take them straight to the nearest veterinary practice for a check over.


Having flowers in the house poses a different kind of risk to pets. For example, most lilies are toxic to cats and a common way cats get poisoned is by brushing against a bouquet of lilies and then licking the pollen off their coat. It is also possible that the water the flowers are kept in could be poisonous. As a general rule, if you own a cat, it’s best not to have lilies in the house.

It’s also good idea make sure your dog doesn’t dig up and swallow any bulbs. Daffodils can be particularly poisonous with the toxic agents most concentrated in the bulb. Following ingestion, vomiting, diarrhoea and dehydration can occur within 24 hours. 

Bee and wasp stings

Dogs and cats, like humans, can be allergic to stings. Signs include swellings, distress and breathing difficulties.

There is a risk that if your pet is stung by a bee or wasp, in or near the mouth or neck, then their breathing may be affected. In which case, you should seek veterinary help immediately.

Slug and snail pellets containing Metaldehyde

Metaldehyde is a common poison to dogs and seen occasionally with cats. Ingestion of small amounts of pellets can cause significant poisoning.  

Signs are usually seen within an hour of ingestion and include incoordination, muscle spasms, twitching and seizures and require urgent veterinary treatment. 

It’s best to always check the packaging for ‘Metaldehyde’ before buying slug or snail pellets.