10 Easter Holiday Dangers for Pets

For those who have Easter celebrations coming up, there’s a lot to look forward to. Maybe it’s a big family meal, action-packed egg hunts, filled-to-the rim baskets, or lots and lots of candy.

We never want to hear post-holiday horror stories from our guests at the Good Dog Hotel & Spa. So, as you gear up for your traditions and gatherings, check out these common Easter holiday dangers from petMD.com – along with the warning signs to look for. And don’t forget, if you’re heading out of town this month (or anytime soon) and you need a special place to board your dog, reserve your space now. We fill up fast!

Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate

Make sure all those chocolate bunnies and special treats stay far away from your pets. Chocolate contains caffeine and a chemical called theobromine. The combo can be highly toxic to dogs, and cats may be affected as well. Dark chocolate and unsweetened, bitter chocolate are the most toxic. Warning signs your pet has ingested chocolate can include diarrhea, vomiting, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rates and even seizures.

Easter Basket Fillers

They sure look cute, but all those popular fillers for your Easter baskets can be choking hazards for your pets. This includes plastic eggs and grass, foil candy wrappers, and toys or gadgets. The bright colored shapes and textures are often attractive to animals, but if they chew and swallow them, your pet’s digestive system could be obstructed. Warning signs your pet has ingested these items may include vomiting, dehydration, weakness, diarrhea, loss of appetite, pain or bloating.

Uncooked Eggs

Yes, just as for humans, serving plain, cooked eggs can be part of a healthy diet for pets. But serving them raw is not a good idea for anyone, because of the risk for salmonella. In addition, consuming large amounts of raw egg white can lead to a biotin deficiency, which is needed for healthy metabolic, nerve, digestive, and cardiovascular functions.

Biotin deficiency signs include skin lesions, dry coats, anemia, and lethargy. While ingestion of small amounts of raw egg will likely not cause any health problems in your pet, if you notice gastrointestinal distress (like vomiting and diarrhea), consult with your vet.

Egg Dyes

While most egg dyes are safe for consumption, before you buy, double check any dyes you use to make sure they are non-toxic. Regardless, it’s best to avoid feeding your pet any item with food coloring. If your pet consumes food products colored with food dye, it’s not likely to cause an immediate adverse medical reaction. But if your pet gets into a lot of food dye, contact your veterinarian or pet poison hotline immediately for advice.


Beware of a toxic sweetener called Xylitol that’s often found in sugar-free gum, candy and baked goods. It can also be found in some common household items like toothpaste and vitamins. Xylitol rapidly releases insulin into a dog’s bloodstream, causing an extreme drop in blood sugar. It can also lead to liver failure and death. Interestingly, dogs are the only species reportedly affected by Xylitol toxicity. Warning signs include lethargy, vomiting, weakness, and seizures. If ingested contact your veterinarian or emergency center as soon as possible.

Fatty Foods

When ingested, ham, lamb and other fatty foods can lead to stomach upset, and in more serious cases, it can cause pancreatitis, which can be life threatening. Pet owners should also refrain from giving their pet ham bones or lamb bones. Fatty foods may cause repeated vomiting, bloating, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, dehydration, weakness, lethargy, and fever.

Toxic Spices & Veggies

Members of the allium family – like onions, garlic, chives, and leeks – are toxic to dogs and cats. They can cause gastroenteritis and hemolytic anemia. Signs of ingestion of these foods may not develop for several days, but when they do, your pet could exhibit nausea, drooling, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, pale games, and increased heart and breathing rates.

Wine, Beer and All Alcohol

Alcohol is harmful to cats and dogs because of their small size (relative to humans), and how quickly the alcohol can hit their bloodstream. This can cause a dangerous drop in blood sugar and blood temperature, which can lead to seizures and respiratory failure. All alcoholic beverages should be kept out of the reach of pets at all times. Warning signs include lethargy, drooling, vomiting, gagging, disorientation or difficulty walking.

Lilies & Lily of the Valley

Lilies are highly toxic to cats and can cause kidney failure or even lead to death if not treated properly. In addition, flowers like Lily of the Valley, which are sometimes called “fake lilies,” are also toxic to cats. All parts of the lily plant can be deadly to cats, including the leaves, pollen, flower, and even the water that the lilies are stored in. Prompt treatment after ingestion is needed to save a cat. Warning signs your cat might have ingested lilies include lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, extreme thirst, seizures, and death.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts are a popular snack often included in gift baskets, or in the ingredients for cookies and other desserts. They are toxic to dogs, but not usually fatal. Look for lethargy, vomiting, wobbliness, tremors, joint stiffness, depression, and increased temperature.

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