Have a Dog-friendly Easter

As Easter approaches, many of us enjoy indulging in delicious treats like Easter eggs and hot cross buns.

However, these treats can pose risks to our dogs, along with other seasonal hazards like certain flowering bulbs and plants.

For more on keeping your pets safe during this season, visit our page on spring dangers.

Hot cross buns and Simnel cake

Grapes, raisins, currants and sultanas are all toxic to dogs and it is believed the dried forms of these fruits are more toxic than grapes. At this time of year, it is therefore important that hot cross buns and Simnel cake are kept well away from your dogs.

In fact, our newest statistics show that cases of grape and raisin poisoning in dogs were 117% higher than those of chocolate poisoning during the Easter months in 2023. You can read the full press release here.

If you believe your dog has eaten any amount of grapes, or the dried versions of them (raisins, sultanas or currants), call you vet for advice immediately. Even small amounts can sometimes be harmful to dogs.

Find out more about the dangers of grapes, raisins, currants and sultanas.

Chocolate Easter Eggs

Chocolate poisoning is particularly common at this time of year, especially with the large amounts of Easter eggs that may be around your home.

Chocolate contains a chemical called theobromine, which can be poisonous to dogs, as well as most other animals, including cats, rodents and rabbits. Generally speaking, the darker and more expensive the chocolate, the more theobromine it contains. So dark chocolate that’s rich in theobromine is likely to be more toxic than white chocolate, which contains very little. 

If you believe your dog has eaten any chocolate, contact your vet immediately. 

Find out more about chocolate poisoning here.

Our tips for keeping your dog safe from chocolate this Easter

During the Easter period, it's essential to take proactive steps to ensure your dog's safety around chocolate:

  1. Keep all chocolate out of reach: Make sure that all chocolate products are securely stored in places where your dog cannot access them.

  2. Avoid involving your dog in Easter egg hunts: While Easter egg hunts can be fun for humans, they pose a risk to dogs if they ingest chocolate eggs. Keep your dog away from the hunt area and thoroughly check that all chocolate eggs have been found.

  3. Store chocolate securely: When chocolate is not being consumed, store it in a location that is out of your dog's reach to prevent accidental ingestion.

  4. Resist the temptation to share chocolate with your dog: Despite their pleading eyes, refrain from feeding your dog any chocolate, as it can be harmful to their health.

  5. Consider homemade dog treats: Treat your dog to homemade treats using safe ingredients. Explore our collection of homemade dog treat recipes for wholesome alternatives to chocolate.

Additionally, be mindful of chocolate foil wrappers, as they can cause obstructions if ingested. Signs of obstruction may include vomiting, lethargy, loss of appetite, constipation, or difficulty passing stool. If you notice any of these symptoms, seek veterinary attention promptly to ensure your dog's well-being.

Spring bulbs

Incidents of poisoning from spring bulbs are most likely to occur from dogs eating the bulbs in autumn when they are planted, or in spring when they begin to flower.

Here are some specific effects on dogs associated with spring bulbs in your garden: 


Effects from poisoning can include vomiting, stomach upset and salivation, but can escalate to dogs appearing sleepy, wobbly on their legs, or collapsing. In more serious cases fits and changes to heart rate, body temperature and blood pressure may occur. Dogs can also become unwell if the flowers are eaten, or if water from a vase containing daffodils is drunk.


The toxins found in this plant cause irritation to the mouth and gastrointestinal tract and only usually result in drooling, vomiting and diarrhoea. Serious cases are rare, but effects could include heart problems and breathing difficulties.

Spring crocus

These flower in spring and are said to be of low toxicity and may only cause a mild stomach upset if eaten. These bulbs are not to be confused with autumn crocus, which flower in autumn and can cause severe stomach upset, kidney and liver problems and bone marrow depression.

If you are worried about your dogs health, always contact your local vet. 

Thinking of giving your dog some of your roast dinner?

Considering sharing your Easter meal with your dog? Think again. While it may be tempting to include your dog in the feast, many traditional Easter foods can be harmful to them. From fatty meats to salty sides, it's best to keep your roast dinner to yourself to avoid doing more harm than good for your pet's health. The last thing you want is for a treat to cause them to feel unwell, or even worse result in a trip to the vets.

Our tips to treat your dog safely this Easter Lunch

Check our list of foods that are poisonous to dogs

  • If you’re giving your dog some of your food, even if it’s “safe”, only give them a small amount. Unfamiliar foods can still cause an upset stomach or excessive and uncomfortable wind
  • If you give any treats make sure to reduce their meal to help balance their daily calories
  • Even if giving dog food, or treats, make sure not to give them too much. Even though it’s Easter, large amounts of food could be dangerous to them, especially if you exercise your dog within a couple of hours after feeding them

What to do if you think your dog has eaten something it shouldn't have

If you think that your dog may have eaten, touched or inhaled something that it shouldn't have, speak to your vet immediately. 

Never try to make your dog sick. Trying to do this can cause other complications, which may harm your dog.

Things to tell your vet

In an emergency you can help your veterinary practice make an informed decision as to whether your dog needs to be treated by them, and if so, what the best treatment would be. Where possible you should provide your veterinary practice with information on:

  • What poison you believe your dog has been exposed to. Include any product names, or lists of ingredients if relevant
  • How much they may have been exposed to (i.e. 500mg, 500ml, one tablet etc, even approximations may help)
  • When your dog was exposed to the poison (i.e. 5 minutes, 5 hours or 5 days ago)
  • If your dog has been unwell and, if so, what clinical effects have been seen

If you are in any doubt, don't wait for your dog to become unwell before calling for advice.

Find out more

If you found this article useful, here are a number of related articles that may be helpful or interesting to you:

Think your dog may be affected?

If you're worried about your dog's health, always contact your vet immediately!

We're not a veterinary organisation and so we can't give veterinary advice, but if you're worried about any of the issues raised in this article, please contact your local vet practice for further information.

Find a vet near you

If you're looking for a vet practice near you, why not visit the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons' Find a vet page.