Keep These Easter Menu Foods Away From The Family Pet, Says A Veterinarian


The fresh flowers, the food, the treats — it’s always egg-citing when Easter comes around! Your little ones are no doubt counting down the days until the Easter Bunny arrives so they can race down the stairs to start their egg hunt and find all sorts of tasty goodies like chocolate bunnies, eggs, and candy. What about your pets, though? They’d probably like to get in on the action, too. But while you’d love to include your fur family in the festivities, some Easter foods are delicious for us but dangerous for pets.

Here’s what you need to know about some of the most popular Easter food items to keep your pets safe. After all, when everyone is healthy and happy, you can have the most egg-cellent Easter ever.

Avoid: Chocolate

You probably already knew this one, right? Still true! In fact, according to Lindsay Butzer, DVM, and PetMeds Partner, chocolate (aka the most popular Easter treat) is the most dangerous for pets.

“Chocolate contains theobromine, a substance that is toxic to dogs and cats,” she explains. “Theobromine can cause symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, increased heart rate, tremors, and even seizures.”

And beware of dark chocolate and baking chocolate since Butzer says both are especially high in theobromine, making them even more dangerous for our furry friends.

Avoid: Candy

While this may seem pretty broad, you can never be too careful. Some sugar-free candy contains artificial sweeteners such as xylitol, which Butzer says is really dangerous for your pets. It’s known to drop blood sugar levels, create liver damage, and can even be fatal. While candy isn’t a snack that your pet should be eating anyway, purchasing candy without fake sugars might be a good idea just in case your furry friend attempts to sneak a taste.

Avoid: Garlic and Onions

Garlic and onions might add the perfect amount of flavor to your dish, but they can be harmful to your pet. They’re both known to be toxic, causing stomach aches and even red blood cell damage. So, before you think of treating your pup with a taste of turkey or mashed potatoes at Easter dinner, make sure it’s plain without any garlic or onion.

OK to Share: Plain Cooked Meat and Vegetables

As mentioned above, Butzer says cooked plain meats like chicken or turkey (without any seasoning or bones) can be a tasty treat for your pet. She also suggests offering small amounts of plain, cooked vegetables like carrots or green beans. “Just remember to introduce new foods slowly and in moderation to avoid any tummy upsets,” she says.

How do you keep your pets away from the food and treats served at Easter?

Spoiler alert — you’re going to have to put in some work. Butzer says it’s important to practice vigilance and take some precautions, like keeping all food items securely stored and out of reach from curious paws.

If you have a dog, she suggests crate training or confining them to a separate area during mealtimes. For cats, it might be helpful to create a distraction with toys or treats in another room.

And one thing that’s often overlooked but you’ll definitely want to remember? “Make sure to communicate with your guests about not feeding your pets any table scraps or Easter treats.”

What are some signs that your pet has eaten something bad for them?

Signs that your pet may have eaten something toxic to them can vary depending on the substance ingested, says Butzer. However, common symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive drooling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Lethargy
  • Tremors
  • Difficulty breathing

If you notice any of these signs or suspect your pet has consumed something harmful, Butzer says it’s crucial to contact your veterinarian immediately. “Time is of the essence when it comes to ingesting chicken bones to make your pet vomit them up and prevent an obstruction,” she warns.

Even if you aren’t 100% positive your pet has ingested something harmful but suspect as much, Butzer says it’s always best to err on the side of caution and seek veterinary care promptly.

“Some toxins can cause irreversible damage to your pet’s organs, such as the kidney and liver, if not treated quickly,” she explains. “Call your veterinarian or the nearest emergency clinic for guidance on whether your pet needs to be seen right away. PetMeds.com has veterinarians working online 24/7 where you can book an appointment to get professional advice for your pet if you are worried.

Bonus: A Dog-Friendly Easter Treat Recipe

Because your furry friend shouldn’t miss out on the fun of the holiday, Butzer shared a dog-friendly recipe for a delicious Easter treat called “Bunny Biscuits.” You’ll need:

  • 2 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup of peanut butter (make sure it doesn’t contain xylitol)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup of water

Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and mix all the ingredients until well combined. Roll out the dough and use bunny-shaped cookie cutters to make adorable biscuits. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely before treating your pup to these homemade delights!





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