Vet warnings ahead of Easter weekend - how to keep your dog safe

Whilst Easter is filled with fun and games, it can be a particularly dangerous time for our furry friends, with many things posing a threat to their health and well being, even some you may not expect.

By Leanne Clarke
Thursday, 14th April 2022, 2:49 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th April 2022, 2:50 pm
Vet warnings ahead of Easter weekend - how to keep your dog safe
Vet warnings ahead of Easter weekend - how to keep your dog safe

So, Pooch & Mutt’s in-house Veterinary surgeon Dr Linda Simon has shared her four most essential pieces of advice to ensure your pets stay safe this Easter.

Keep them indoors or on a lead for any easter egg hunts

Whilst encouraging our dogs to run and play in the garden is great, an Easter egg hunt is one garden activity we should ensure they sit out on.

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Whether you want to keep them inside the house or allow them outside on a lead, making sure your dog doesn’t have access to chocolate eggs is very important.

Chocolate is poisonous for dogs, as it contains theobromine and caffeine which are two stimulants that dogs cannot efficiently metabolise, so ingesting even a small amount can make them quite unwell.

As we know, dogs have an incredible sense of smell, so it wouldn't take them long to sniff out any hidden chocolate, most likely beating the kids to it. Once your Easter egg hunt is over, it is a good idea to double-check your garden for any forgotten chocolate before you allow your dog to freely roam the garden unsupervised.

In the unfortunate event that your dog ingests some chocolate, take them to your veterinary clinic where they will advise and act upon the next steps.

If you want to involve your dog in the Easter games, then once the chocolate hunt is over, hide some of your dog's favourite treats around the garden and let them sniff them out.

Not only is this one way to stop them from feeling left out, but it is a really great source of mental stimulation that can help control stress and curb unwanted behaviours.

Avoid sharing your roast dinner

While sharing our Easter feasts with our four-legged friends can be very tempting, we may be doing more harm than good. It is only natural not to want them feeling left out, but many of the foods that make up a good roast dinner can make our pets very unwell.

A traditional roast dinner in the UK often consists of chicken, stuffing, gravy, Yorkshire puddings and veggies, and whilst you might assume your dog can tuck in too, it is best to hold fire, as even small amounts of some things could make your pooch quite sick.

While lean chicken meat is fine to give to our dogs, we need to be cautious of offering too much skin.

The skin is high in fat and could trigger pancreatitis in susceptible dogs. Stuffing is generally a ‘no-no’ for dogs as it contains onion and garlic. If eaten in large quantities, these allium plants can cause red blood cells to break down and can cause anaemia.

Another one to avoid is gravy. While some gravies may be okay to share with our dogs, others won’t, and sometimes it is better not to take the risk. Richer gravies that contain ingredients like butter or the fat from the meat are too high in fat and can cause stomach upsets and pancreatitis. Gravies can also be very salty, which can be dangerous for those dogs with underlying heart disease.

If you really must share your Sunday dinner with your dog, stick to sharing the veggies as these are the safest item on your plate - as long as they haven't been cooked in fat, butter or oil. Boiled carrots, parsnips, sprouts and potatoes are all good choices.

Supervise your children at all times

Like all animals, dogs have instincts, and they can kick in at any time, which is why we always recommend never leaving children and dogs alone. Even if you think your dog is good with children, there is still cause to remain vigilant when they are together, even more so around high energy holidays such as Easter.

With the increased excitement and the likely consumption of more sugar than they are generally used to , children can get a little bit hyper and in turn, they might find pestering the dog a new form of entertainment.

Whether it is getting in the face and smothering them with kisses, or pulling at their tails or ears, like humans, dogs will only withstand so much before they react.

So in order to avoid any very unnecessary situations, it is a good idea to keep an eye on how your children are interacting with your dog.

Avoid your dog getting access to your rubbish bins

Dogs have a super sensitive sense of smell and can sniff out food and other tasty treats from some pretty impressive distances.

Mischievous dogs might even find their way into your rubbish bins in the hope of securing something delicious. However, you want to avoid this at all costs by storing rubbish far out of reach or weighting bin lids down whilst your dog is roaming freely.

Of course, on a typical day, your bin will likely contain items that are dangerous to your dogs if ingested, but Easter comes with lots of potentially dangerous rubbish from food scraps to wrappers and packaging.

Items such as chicken bones can splinter when consumed. They can cause serious internal damage, and ingestion of wrappers and other non-food items can cause blockages and other issues that could lead to your dog requiring surgery.

So for your sanity and your dogs’ safety, ensuring they do not have access to your bins is advised.